Yevgeny Stolitsa, a traveller, a poet and a landscape painter, was born in a small village near Odessa. After graduating from a local secondary school he enrolled at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts. He travelled much, often on foot, and did a lot of walking along the Volga and the Dnieper rivers, as well as around the Caspian and Black seas – all of which was reflected in his paintings. Together with his teacher Arkhip Kuindzhi and other classmates, he visited Germany, France, and Austria. Stolitsa became famous after he participated in the maiden voyage of the icebreaker "Yermak" in the polar seas - in 1899, the artist returned with a wealth of field sketches of these Arctic landscapes, reflecting the silence and rigor of the area. His main canvas, "The Icebreaker ‘Yermak’ in the Polar Ice", was exhibited at the World Fair in Paris. "He was so addicted to polar nature,” wrote Vice-Admiral Makarov about Stolitsa, “that he spent whole days in the ice fields, and we often feared that some curious polar bear might be bothered by his unexpected visit." After this adventure on the northern seas, Admiral Makarov invited him back for another journey, this time to Port Arthur in the Far East to "capture on canvas the episodes of fighting in defence of the fortress." The Russian-Japanese War was in full swing and the Admiral was killed a month later in battle. Stolitsa had painted a portrait of him in his cabin three days before, and he also returned home with a series of battle scenes which he later donated to the Leningrad Naval Museum.