“Behind the love potion”, Mikhail Vasilievich Nesterov – overview of the painting

“Behind the love potion”, Mikhail Vasilievich Nesterov – overview of the painting
“Behind the love potion”, Mikhail Vasilievich Nesterov - overview of the painting - 1

  • Posted by Mikhail Vasilievich Nesterov
  • Museum: Saratov Art Museum named after Radishchev
  • Year: 1888

Overview of the painting :

Behind the love potion – Mikhail Vasilievich Nesterov. 1888. Oil on canvas. 125 x 142

   It is difficult to call Mikhail Nesterov a traveler in the full sense of the word. However, the painter gleaned interest in the everyday genre from them, combining “Russianness” with his inner understanding.

   In the picture we see a curious scene – a young girl came to a strange old man for a love potion. The girl fell in love, but a man dear to her heart does not reciprocate. That is why the heroine came to the local sorcerer for help. Noticeable how embarrassed the girl is, because she intentionally goes to cunning, deceit. The heroine’s figure is not written out big, but how accurately the painter displays her emotions: sadness in her eyes from unrequited love, desperately lost shoulders, self-doubt. Although the heroine is pretty, the omitted mirror suggests that she is not happy with what she sees in reflection.

   Sad, suffering girls are a common leitmotif in Nesterov’s work. Perhaps the artist liked the sad beauty in itself, or maybe this is a reflection of the author’s mental pain due to the untimely departure of his first wife.

   Another remarkable and expressive figure of the picture is the elder. His house is away from the rest of the village. The tan looks unusual: a thick gray beard, a yarmulk hat, a coast on the belt. He sympatheticly looks at the uninvited guest, who is not even able to raise his eyes, not that he voiced the request.

   The dramatic scene is shaded by a luxurious rich landscape. Bright green vegetation is written in detail. Here is the protoptan track (apparently, the elder often accepts guests), and modest but charming yellow flowers, a picturesque straw bruise …

   How this story ends? Whether the healer will give such a necessary potion, or there are no medicines for love and love – the girl is waiting for help in vain? We do not know this, but we completely empathize with this lyrical story, hoping that without cunning and witchcraft, a happy ending awaits the girl.