Valerii Prokof’ev (1928-1982) was a leading Russian art historian, specialized in French and Spanish art of the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1951 he graduated from the Faculty of Arts at the Lomonosov Moscow State University, and in 1955 he defended his PhD thesis on the works of Théodore Géricault, written under the supervision of professor Boris Vipper. From 1960 to 1969 he taught at the Faculty of Arts of the Lomonosov Moscow State University, and then moved to the State Institute for Art Studies (GII), where he worked for the rest of his life. He took part in the planning of the Russian pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1956, which marked the return of the Soviet Union after 22 years of absence. In 1970 he defended his second doctoral degree dissertation, which focused on Francisco Goya’s Caprices. Since 1979, together with A. Chegodaev and L. Tananaeva, he coordinated the research group “Folklore and Professional Art in their Historical Connections and Interrelations”, whose results appeared in the miscellaneous volume, edited by himself and published posthumously, entitled The Primitiv and its Role in the Modern and Contemporary Art Culture (1983).