“Brubber with cornflowers”, Alexey Gavrilovich Venetianov – overview of the painting

“Brubber with cornflowers”, Alexey Gavrilovich Venetianov – overview of the painting
“Brubber with cornflowers”, Alexey Gavrilovich Venetianov - overview of the painting - 1

  • Posted by Alexey Gavrilovich Venetsyanov
  • Museum: Tretyakov Gallery
  • Year: 1820s

Overview of the painting :

Peasant with cornflowers – Alexey Gavrilovich Venetianov. Oil on canvas. 49 x 37.1 cm

   The works of Venetianov are related to realism. Having moved from St. Petersburg to his small estate in the Tambov province, the artist was able to get to know the life of the serfs closely. He was one of the first in Russian painting to portray their hard life. The paintings of Venetianov are true and at the same time lyrical. He sees in serfdom living people, not slaves. Shows their spiritual beauty and inner strength.

   That is the picture. The artist portrayed a young peasant woman sitting in a half-turn, facing the audience. But the look of her dark eyes is directed to the side. A tall forehead, cheeks are slightly touched by a blush, a half smile froze on the lips. The face is pretty, but tired, the shoulders are lowered. Apparently, the artist painted it after a hard day.

   On the girl’s lap are flowers of beads scattered, and on top of them lie their hands. Thin fingers sort through the petals of field colors. Cornflowers were used as a medicinal plant, and blue paint was made from them.

   Vasilek was considered a symbol of modesty and simplicity. Such is the young peasant woman. Her face is thoughtful. It can be seen that this is a quiet, meek girl.

   She is dressed pretty easily. She is wearing a white shirt with wide sleeves, a blue skirt and a apron. A scarf is tied on the head. However, its gentle image is filled with light. The artist admires her quiet inner beauty.

   Venetianov uses an uncolored dark brown background, which should not distract the viewer from the girl’s bright face. The bright blue color of the beads is supported by a skirt and a modest necklace on a thin neck. Heat is added by pale yellow apron and scarf. Light spots stand out for the shirt and face of the peasant woman. Soft, distracted light falls on her face and figure. From this, the image seems spiritual and especially lyrical.

   This portrait of a simple girl is one of the best in Russian painting. Venetianov was able to convey the beauty of the soul of a young peasant woman without embellishing her and without creating a pre-trial picture. His “Girl with Cornflowers” is a pure and sincere image filled with poetry and light.

   With his work, the artist raises “low” art to “high”, chanted by academicism. Venetianov had a difficult relationship with fellow crafts. Not all artists were able to appreciate the significance of his work. He was considered the author of the “low genre”, depicting peasant life instead of goddesses and queens.

   However, the work of Venetianov is relevant and now with his humanism and ability to see the beautiful in the most ordinary. His canvases are sung by the Russian people, showing their best qualities. The artist in his works admires ordinary people, their steadfastness in front of difficulties and the ability to preserve the purity of the soul in difficult conditions of serfdom.

   The painting was purchased by P. M. Tretyakov among the heirs of the famous philanthropist and collector, gold producer Stepan Fedorovich Solovyov in 1887. Now located in the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.