Nekrasov during the period of “Last Songs”, Kram – overview of the portrait

Nekrasov during the period of “Last Songs”, Kram – overview of the portrait
Nekrasov during the period of "Last Songs", Kram - overview of the portrait - 1

  • Posted by Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskaya
  • Museum: Tretyakov Gallery
  • Year: 1877-1878

Overview of the painting :

N. AND. Nekrasov during the period of “Last Songs” – Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskaya. 1877-1878. Oil on canvas. 105×89 cm

   One of the strongest and most expressive works-portraits of Ivan Kramsky “Necrasov during the period of“ Last Songs ”. In terms of its drama and plot content, the picture can only be compared with the last lifetime portrait of the composer of the Mussorgsky brush, Ilya Repin.

   Back in 1875, Nikolai Nekrasov was given a terrible diagnosis – bowel cancer, and by 1877 all of Petersburg knew about the writer’s illness. Intelligentsia very painfully watched the poet’s extinction.

   At the same time, Pavel Tretyakov came up with the idea of collecting portraits of all outstanding people of his time, and he just didn’t have Nekrasov. He asked to write the poet Tretyakov to Kramsky, which he had not done for the first time, and the painter responded to the order. So this amazing work appeared, capturing a huge fortitude, resistance, fearlessness before the disease in the name of the realization of creative inspiration. Nekrasov writes his last work – “Last Songs”, a kind of testament to his descendants.

   Eight years earlier, Nikolai Ge already wrote to Nekrasov, but Kramsky was faced with more complicated work – in 1868 the poet was still full of energy and energy, but Ivan Nikolaevich had to work with a man who no longer got out of bed.

   At first, it seemed inconceivable to portray the poet and on the pillows, because the descendants should see the great Nekrasov in all its glory, and it is impossible to imagine him in the house bathrobe. However, with all the hesitation and doubts of the artist, Kramskaya remained true to himself – he portrayed only the truth. As a result, the portrait turned out to be chamber, even to some extent intimate, but the hero himself gives him monumentality and greatness, his unbending strength of mind, the fight against the disease. This is a complete fiasco of the disease before a creative impulse.

   Nekrasov is pale and worse. His eyes are sad and very tired, but not these moods dominate the look – the writer’s gaze is distinguished by perseverance and concentration. Skillfully performed drapery of the simple color of the word bone does not hide the painful thinness. In the hands of Nikolai Alekseevich, a neat stack of leaves on which the author writes his work.

   In addition to the exact characteristics of the hero, details are thought out in the picture. That is why the picture borders in genre between the portrait and the everyday style. There is a cup on the bedside table, and by the way there are some medicines, a tier below – manuscripts, books, newspapers. A very pinching little call looks like, with the help of which Nekrasov, who had almost never moved, called his servant to him.

   Pictures over the bed are black and white portraits of Adam Mickiewicz and Nikolai Dobrolyubov, and on the left the background is a little darkened – you will not immediately see the bust of Vissarion of Belinsky.

   The result of the Necrasov posing sessions was a portrait, which depicts only the poet’s head, without hands. The portrait man liked the work, and he ordered two more copies from the painter, for himself.

   But Kramskaya did not limit himself to this – the dying Nikolai Alekseevich in the interior of the room, the artist finished only in 1878, and, alas, Nekrasov was no longer alive by then.