"Chronicles of the Seraphim-Diveyevo Monastery" identifies Serebryakov as "a monk from the Sarov monastery who found there his eternal rest." The Sarov monastery's registry reads as follows: "Joseph (Simeon Serebryakov), a Ryassophore monk, 80 yeas old, a color wash and mural painter of special talents, passed away on May 9th, 1862. A native of Arzamas. In 1845, he and his sons decorated the dome of Our Lady of Life-Giving Spring church and his son Alexander painted large-scale paintings" (…) Consequently, it turns out he had a baptismal name of Simeon, for it was earlier considered to be his patronymic name. Taking the veil, he received his new name of Joseph.
During his formative years, Serebryakov was influenced by Alexander Vasilyevich Stupin from Arzamas and, judging by the year of his birth, he became one of the first students at Stupin's school of art. During more than 50 years of Stupin's school operation, Stupin and his apprentices decorated 10 churches, made 136 iconostases, and created 2956 icons with orders coming from Penza, Simbirsk, Tambov, Nizhny Novgorod, Saratov, Kazan and Orenburg Provinces. Stupin and his team also decorated churches in the Sarov monastery.
Serebryakov's most significant work is the decoration of the Resurrection Cathedral in Arzamas that was completed by the artist, his sons, and their team over a period of three years, from 1834 to 1837. Save for the central dome, frescoes are painted in monochrome brown and beige colors that amplify the cathedral's vastness, giving it air and light. The artists worked in fresco technique, or painting on wet plaster. The major hassle a fresco painter had to overcome was the quickly drying plaster, thus a dried plaster layer had to be knocked down and painting could only be continued after applying a fresh layer.
The fresco narrative presents scenes from the earthly life of the Savior. Works by Western European masters served as their inspiration. For example, "The Last Supper" above the main altar is a copy of the famous painting by Leonardo Da Vinci. However, the frescoes also feature some details of everyday Russian life of that time. For instance, the Adoration of the Magi takes place in a wooden shed instead of a cave.
Smaller paintings depict angels, cherubims, censers, etc. The twelve apostles are painted on the central dome between windows whereas the four Evangelists are placed in sail vaults below. The monochromaticism of frescoes creates an impression of uniformity of painting style and architectural design, inviting the viewer to enter into a peaceful and prayerful mood. Overall, the cathedral has only two oil paintings. One is the Triune God in the central dome vault. The other is the Crucifixion at the main altar's High Place, a copy from the original piece by Spanish artist Bartolomeo Murillo, located at Our Lady of Smolensk Church in Vyezdnoye village. The Resurrection Cathedral is richly decorated with stucco moldings, while in some places skilled paintwork can be easily mistaken for stucco.