Valentin Aleksandrovich Serov ((January 19, 1865 - December 5, 1911) was a Russian painter, and one of the premier portrait artists of his era.
Serov was born in St. Petersburg, son of the Russian composer Alexander Serov, and his wife Valentina Bergman, a composer of German-Jewish and English background. In his childhood he studied in Paris and Moscow under Ilya Repin and in the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts (1880-1885) under Pavel Chistyakov. Serov's early creativity was sparked by the realistic art of Repin and strict pedagogical system of Chistyakov. Further influences on Serov were the old master paintings he viewed in the museums of Russia and Western Europe, friendships with Mikhail Vrubel and (later) Konstantin Korovin, and the creative atmosphere of the Abramtsevo Colony, to which he was closely connected.