Gavril Kondratenko (1854 -1924) was born to a peasant family. He studied in the Imperial Academy of Arts in 1873–1882; at first as a noncredit student in the class of historical painting under the guidance of K. F. Gunn, since 1875 — as a full-time student at the landscape class of M. K. Klodt. In 1881 he was awarded small gold medal for landscape. In 1882 he graduated from the Academy with the title of class artist of the 2nd degree for his graduating painting Night in Bakhchysarai.
Kondratenko lived in St. Petersburg (Petrograd — Leningrad). As a student of and after graduating from the Academy (1880–1914), he often traveled to cities of Russia, Ukraine, Caucasus and the Crimea. He visited Italy and Greece in 1890–1900 and in 1914. Kondratenko painted mostly landscapes and still lifes. In 1880 he was awarded the first prize of landscape painting by the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts for his painting Neglected Park. In 1880s he painted a series of 20 landscapes with views of Lermontov’s places in Moscow and in Caucasus.
Kondratenko participated in the exhibitions of the Imperial Academy of Arts (1883–1918, with intervals), the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts (1883–1886, with intervals), and Moscow Society of Art Lovers (1887–1890). He also took part in the All-Russia industrial and agricultural exhibition in Nizhny Novgorod (1896), the World Fair in Paris (1900), and the Exhibition of works by Petrograd artists of all art movements (1923).
Kondratenko was a member and exhibitor of St. Petersburg (Petrograd) Society of Artists (1891–1918). He also headed the Committee for Organization of the Exhibitions in 1893–1897. The artist was a member and participant of the exhibitions of the A. I. Kuindzhi Society of Artists (1917–1918; member of the Society since 1910).
Kondratenko was engaged not only in easel painting and graphic art, but also in book illustration. He drew illustrations for the poem Rusalka (“Mermaid”) by A. S. Pushkin in 1891; he worked on design of the collected works by M. Y. Lermontov in 1914–1915. Since 1892 he was a member of the board of the Association of Illustrators.
His love of the Russian landscape and independent spirit led him to be one of the founders in 1868 of the famous Society of Travelling Exhibitions. In looking at his master’s work, it becomes more apparent that Kondratenko departed from the Realist school and towards the more lyrical and expressive style of Kuindzhi’s school.