Sergei Zotov: biography, creativity, career, personal life

Our hero studies the Middle Ages and is literally in love with this era. That doesn’t stop him from being aware of all fashion trends. The brash young man wished that historical facts became available to his peers and roamed the modern world with him. Strange, but he managed it.


Sergey – a native of Saratov. He was born in November 1990. In school, all boys present themselves as noble knights, but not for many history becomes a future specialty. After school Zotov entered Saratov State University named after M. Chernyshevsky. He chose Germanistics with his specialty. In 2013, the guy received a higher education. Our hero didn’t plan to stop there. He went to Moscow and entered the Russian State Humanities University to earn the title of Master in Historical Cultural Studies.

Sergey Zotov

Diploma to Sergey Zotov was awarded in 2015. The young specialist was upgrading his qualifications abroad. He studied at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and became a junior researcher at the Duke Augustus Library in 2017. In 2018, the young man graduated from postgraduate studies at the Russian State Humanities University which has already become his native to him. Today he is a bachelor and is in no hurry to divulge details of his personal life, the name of his future wife and the date slated to start a family.

The circle of interests

fascination with the history of the Middle Ages led Zotov to search for facts about this era on picturesque canvases and book miniatures. Of course, the main subject of the works of masters of antiquity were Christian stories. A number of symbols and traditional concepts have diverted into other areas of people’s life and knowledge.

In addition to studying life, mores and laws of the past, Sergei began to delve into details of the elitist disciplines of medieval Europe. He became interested in esoteric cults dating back to the past and alchemy, which combined natural science and mysticism. Our hero is interested in how the religiosity of society influenced the style of submission of information about the supernatural and treatment of quite real phenomena. The scientist especially likes to search for images that came from iconography on the pages of mysterious treatises.

Illustration from an alchemical treatise

If someone already has the opinion that Zotov is fixated on Middle Ages, then this is a misjudgment. Sergey is a member of the Platonovo Philosophical Society, which operates on the basis of the Faculty of Philosophy of St. Petersburg State University. The historian is engaged in the study of the work of the ancient philosopher and his adaptations in later centuries.

Hooligan creativity

Unaccustomed to the eyes of modern man symbols and styles of medieval painting, according to Zotov, should not have remained available exclusively to scientific community. The view that the Middle Ages is a dreary time was formed due to a lack of information about this period. In order for the people to appreciate all the charm of the era, the historian offered the public a selection of illustrations, called “The Suffering Middle Ages”.

Suffering Middle Ages

Original way of submitting information about the visual arts of the Middle Ages gained popularity. Those who still recently the distant past were completely uninterested, began to search for funny images on famous paintings and invent them non-standard signatures. Zotov offered the attention of the public little-known masterpieces, equipped not only with a witty joke, but also with an explanation of what the artist actually wanted to say, painting this hochma. Today everyone can purchase the book “Suffering the Middle Ages”.

In addition to inventing a new way of drawing attention to the topic of his research, this scientist husband does not bend and classical forms of enlightenment contemporaries.

He often gives lectures, is a volunteer for the Laboratory of Historical, Social and Cultural Anthropology. In 2018, his contribution to the dissemination of scientific knowledge was awarded the “Educator” prize in the nomination “Humanities”.

On the Internet you can find video recordings of Sergey Zotov’s lectures. They will especially appeal to those interested in the visual arts. The speaker disassembles each image into fragments that can be attributed to a particular tradition, looking for exceptional Christian symbols characteristic of the Middle Ages. Sergei Zotov chooses mainly German book miniature as illustrative material. The lecturer and the political context of the drawings does not bypass attention.

Evaluation of the activity

 Despite the clear epatality of the project “Suffering the Middle Ages”, the ideas of our hero met not much criticism. Sergey’s activity in popularization of knowledge about the past clearly indicates that this guy works for the benefit of society, not trying quickly and simply to make a career and name. Still, to wonder: how appropriate humor is in enlightenment, one can.

Humor is simply necessary if you want the material to attract the widest possible audience. Shocking images from ancient manuscripts, gaining a modern interpretation from the dilettante, get the correct explanation. Man sees the difference between his perception and that of the former. Having discovered a clear gap in their knowledge, everyone will want to learn more.

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