The art of icon painting is inherited by Old Russia from Byzantine after conversion of Russians to Christianity in 988 by Prince Vladimir. In the XI century church construction was actively carried in Kiev. The first cathedrals were constructed in other cities of Old Russia. Icon-painters from Byzantine were actively invited by Old Russia. The Russian icon-painting reached its highest prosperity for the first time and got rid of studying dependency and became quite original in XV century.
In the mid-17th-century changes in liturgy and practice instituted by Patriarch Nikon resulted in a split in the Russian Orthodox Church. The traditionalists, the persecuted Old Believers, continued the traditional stylization of icons, while the State Church modified its practice. From that time icons began to be painted not only in the traditional stylized and non-realistic mode, but also in a mixture of Russian stylization and Western European realism, and in a Western European manner very much like that of Catholic religious art of the time.
Russian icons are typically paintings on wood, often small, though some in churches and monasteries may be much larger. Some Russian icons were made of copper. Many religious homes in Russia have icons hanging on the wall in the krasny ugol, the “red” or “beautiful” corner.
In big Old Believers’ centres were founded independent icon-painting schools. In Estonia at the turn of XIX-XX century existed own icon-painting studio. Gavril Frolov (1854-1930) headed the icon-painting studio in the village Raja. Among G. Frolov’s students were – P. M. Sofronov.
Sources: starover.eu, Wikipedia