“Behind the Tea Table,” Konstantin Korovin – overview of the painting

“Behind the Tea Table,” Konstantin Korovin – overview of the painting
“Behind the Tea Table,” Konstantin Korovin - overview of the painting - 1

  • Posted by Konstantin Korovin
  • Museum: Museum-Reserve B. D. Polenova
  • Year: 1888

Overview of the painting :

At the tea table – Konstantin Korovin. 1888. Canvas on cardboard, butter. 48.5 x 60.5 cm.

   In the late XIX – early XX centuries, a new direction in art arose, which with the light of critics and journalists was called “impressionism.”. The name this came from the French word “impression”. Impressionists called artists who opposed the invitations of works of academic artists their unusual artistic language for that time. Then the same artistic trends appeared in literature and music.

   Konstantin Korovin is recognized as one of the founders of impressionism in Russia. Researchers believe that true commitment to this style begins to appear in the cycle of “zhukovo” works of the master. In the summer of 1888, the painter spent his friend in the village of Zhukovka at the cottage. The purpose of visiting this remote place was not only to relax and enjoy good communication. Korovin sought to find a new approach for himself in depicting air and light on canvases. He was close to the style of Claude Monet, who took people to the background, catching moments of the beauty of nature.

   The owner of the estate was the famous artist V.D. Polenov. Its paintings are characterized by the intimate world of the ancient Russian estate and national landscapes. He was a hospitable and pleasant person. His house was always full of guests: friends, colleagues, relatives, students, neighbors. They all gathered at a large table, had small talk, joked, played and drank tea.

   The key work of this period was the “Behind the Tea Table” canvas. All heroes are full of well-known personalities. Elena Polenova is the sister of the owner of the estate, a well-known graphic artist and illustrator of children’s books. She sits with her back to us in a modest summer hat. On the contrary is Natalya Polenova. And on the right is young artist Maria Yakunchikova. Particular attention is drawn to a family friend sitting on the right, a young officer Vyacheslav Ziberov.

   The main sign of the impressionistic orientation of the canvas in the effect of a random frame. It’s like this is not a picture on which a lot of time and effort of the artist has been spent, but a photograph or a frame of film. The author sat at the same table with the heroes, and stood up in order to capture the moment. His chair is casually pushed back, which indicates the time of what is happening. Masters are waiting for cutlery: a glass in a cup holder, a plate and a spoon. Realistic and dynamic are the main trends of the image.

   At first glance, it seems that every hero is busy with his own business, but this is not so. Young girl Maria is embarrassed to talk with Vyacheslav, stirring tea a little nervously. The junk itself looks boldly, decisively and a little more evaluative. He has a military correction. He does not specifically take off his cap at the table to emphasize his officer status. We cannot see Elena’s face, but her pose is very tense. This is visible from her slightly hunched back. Natalya is busy sewing and as if she had been abandoned. But with careful consideration, you can notice that she also listens to the conversation of young people.

   It’s difficult to determine the genre of canvas. This is a group portrait with elements of landscape, still life, genre stage and household motives.