Appolinarii Vasnetsov, the younger brother of the famous Russian artist Viktor Vasnetsov, was an accomplished landscape painter, graphic artist, and theater designer in his own right. He began his artistic training under the tutelage of his brother and later studied under Vasilii Polenov and Ilia Repin.
Vasnetsov's earliest historical scenes of Moscow were illustrations for M. Lermontov's poem Song of Merchant Kalashnikov (1838) published in the commemorative edition of the poet's works in 1891. The poem was set in the time of Ivan the Terrible, and Appolinarii Vasnetsov had to study old maps, historical accounts, and city plans in order to re-create 16th Century Moscow with archeological accuracy. From that time and until the end of his life Vasnetsov remained fascinated with medieval Moscow and produced a number of historical scenes of Moscow in the 16th and 17th Centuries, all executed in a virtuoso charcoal drawing technique heightened with watercolor and pastels. The present work depicts a Boyar estate in the historic area of 17th Century Moscow called Skorodom (translated as 'Quick House') or Zemlianoi Gorod (translated as 'Earthen City'), that was a concentric residential settlement of Old Moscow consisting of wooden log houses, churches, and markets and populated primarily by merchants and tradesmen. The scene illustrates the arrival of guests to a household of a wealthy Boyar family in the 17th Century, with a warm greeting scene on the porch, a nanny chaperoning children, and the household staff going about their daily activities.