Kupchikha for tea, 1918, Kustodiev – overview of the painting

Kupchikha for tea, 1918, Kustodiev – overview of the painting
Kupchikha for tea, 1918, Kustodiev - overview of the painting - 1

  • Author: Boris Mikhailovich Kustodiev
  • Museum: Russian Museum
  • Year: 1918

Overview of the painting :

Kupchikha for tea – Boris Mikhailovich Kustodiev. 1918. Oil on canvas. 120.5×121.2

   One of the favorite characters in Kustodiev’s works was a noble, health-drying merchant. The merchant artist wrote many times – in the interior and against the background of the landscape, naked and in elegant dresses.

   The painting “Boiling for Tea” is unique in its impressive strength and harmonious integrity. In a Russian beauty sitting on the balcony at the table, tired by the dishes, a wild, immense thickness of the Russian beauty, the image of the merchant takes on a truly symbolic sound. The details carry a large semantic load in the canvas: a thick lazy cat rubbing on the mistress’s shoulder, a merchant couple drinking tea on the next balcony, a city depicted in the background with churches and shopping malls and, in particular, a magnificent “gastronomic” still life. A ripe red watermelon with black bones, a fat cake, rolls, fruits, porcelain, a large samovar – all this is written unusually materially and tangible and at the same time not illusory, but deliberately simplified, as on the bench.

   In the hungry year 1918, in the cold and devastation of a sick artist dreamed of beauty, full-blooded bright life, abundance. However, the savagery of a full, thoughtless existence is accompanied here, as in other works of Kustodiev, by light irony and an uninvited grin. Irony, grotesque, decorative stylization, a combination of full-scale observation with fiction bring Kustodiev closer to other myriskusniki. At the same time, Kustodiev’s work is more optimistic, cheerful and national.

   In addition to easel works, Kustodiev, who also worked in the Soviet era, performed a number of book illustrations and theater and decoration.