Vasnetsov was a Russian painter and graphic artist whose elder brother was the famous Viktor Mikhailovich Vasnetsov.
Vasnetsov did not receive a formal artistic education. He studied under his older brother. From 1883 they lived and worked in Abramtsevo where he fell under the influence of Vasily Polenov (1844-1927).
In 1898-1899 Vasnetsov travelled across Europe. In addition to epic landscapes of Russian nature, Vasnetsov created his own genre of historical landscape reconstruction on the basis of historical and archaeological data. His paintings present a visual picture of medieval Moscow.
Vasnetsov exhibited with the Wanderers from 1889 and became a member in 1888. His illustrations to Lermontov (1814-1841) were published in Moscow in 1891. In the 1880s and 1890s he visited Ukraine, Crimea, Caucasus and Urals, as well as France, Germany and Italy.
He was made an Academician in 1900 and exhibited in Paris the same year. He exhibited with the World of Art 1900-1901. He taught as head of the landscape studio at the Moscow College between 1901 and 1919, where his pupils included Dimitri Mitrokhin (1883-1973). He was one of the founder member of the Union of Russian Artists in 1903. He exhibited in Munich in 1913 and in Lyon in 1914.
After the Revolution Vasnetsov was President of the Commission for the Study of Old Moscow from 1918. In the beginning of 1920 the Committee of Archeology invited Apollinary Mikhailovich Vasnetsov and some other painters, among them was Vikentii Trofimov (1878-1956), to draw old places of Voronezh. He was represented at the First Russian Art Exhibition in Berlin in 1922. He exhibited in New York, Boston and Baltimore in 1924 and in Venice in 1929. He died in Moscow.
Vasnetsov is represented in the following collections: the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow; the State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg; the Odessa Art Museum; the Kirov Art Museum; the Bakhrushin Theatre Museum, Moscow; amongst others.