Russian Painting: Portraiture

L.: Aurora

Год издания: 1991

Объём: 142 стр.

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It was from delight in the perfection of man and the beauty of the surrounding world and the desire to capture it on canvas that portraiture was born.
The solidity and clarity of Rembrandt’s brushwork, the delicacy and refinement of Gainsborough, Velazquez’ attention to still-life detail, the virtuosity of Goya, David and Ingres, the Impressionists’ passion for sunlight and air, the esoteric geometrism of Picasso and the cryptographic idiom of Modigliani all served to recreate on canvas the ever-changing face of Europe, viewed, as it were, in general terms, with social characteristics often distinctly prevailing over psychological insight. These artists’ portrayals illustrate the development of society in Europe.
Not so the Russian portrait. Here we have before us a gallery of individuals. Each artist focused his attention on features which most fully expressed the ideal of the time. It was precisely this quest for the ideal as embodied in the personality of an innovator or reformer that marked the works of the Russian school of portrait painting, from Ivan Nikitin’s Peter the Great to later nineteenth- and early twentieth-century portraits depicting cultural figures who were the pride of their country.

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