Apollinary Vasnetsov was born in the village of Ryabovo, the Vyatka province (today the Kirov region). He took private lessons and studied under his older brother – Viktor Vasnetsov.

Apollinary Vasnetsov was a painter, a graphic artist, a scene-painter and a pedagogue. He was a member of the Society of Traveling Art Exhibitions (since 1888), the Union of Russian Artists (since 1903), academician of the Academy of Arts (1900).

Vasnetsov was a participant of the Abramtsevo Colony since 1880. In 1880–1894 he lived and worked firstly in the village Akhtyrka near Abramtsevo and then in Abramtsevo estate where he painted landscapes, designed articles for the joinery and pottery, took part in amateur performances and helped with sceneries.

Since 1896 he cooperated with the Russian Private Opera as a scene-painter. The Abramtsevo Museum keeps the pictures by Apollinary Vasnetsov as well as articles of decorative and applied arts made by sketches of the artist.