The Institute was not to his liking and he was an indifferent student, so a family friend who was an amateur artist encouraged his father to send him to the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (MSPSA). With a recommendation from Vasily Perov , he began auditing classes there in 1878; studying with Illarion Pryanishnikov and Evgraf Sorokin .  He left there in 1882 to attend the Imperial Academy of Arts . Dissatisfaction with the school's administration and financial difficulties forced him to return to Moscow in 1884. He went back to the MSPSA and graduated in 1885.