“Poor Lisa”, Orest Adamovich Kiprensky – overview of the painting

“Poor Lisa”, Orest Adamovich Kiprensky – overview of the painting
“Poor Lisa”, Orest Adamovich Kiprensky - overview of the painting - 1

  • Posted by: Orest Adamovich Kiprensky
  • Museum: Tretyakov Gallery
  • Year: 1827

Overview of the painting :

Poor Lisa – Orest Adamovich Kiprensky. 1827. Oil on canvas. 45 x 39 cm.

   The plot of the picture is inspired by the famous work of Karamzin with the same name. A sentimental novel hit the Russian audience with the unusual ending for literature of that time – the heroine’s suicide. The picture was written 30 years after the release of the novel and has a different character – romantic, with a touch of high-parity and some mannership.

   The canvas depicts a portrait of a young girl, almost a girl in whom it is difficult to guess the peasant woman. Everything is symbolic in the image – her robes of the most pearl-white and pink color are designed to emphasize the innocence of the girl, and the flower in her hands is a symbol of the first naive and touching love, brutally trampled by an unfaithful lover. By the way, in the novel, Lisa collected and sold lilies, and on the canvas she holds a simple velvet, or tagetes (in some descriptions this southern flower, known as a black-headed, is described as cloves).

   A delicate color scheme, carefully prescribed details, the smallest folds of the heroine’s shirt, her expressive face, slightly touched by the blush, the position of the head – all these are romantic techniques designed to emphasize the girl’s naive freshness. But the era of Karamzin has irrevocably passed, so the canvas does not depict the tragic moment of Lisa’s suicide, but its portrait as a symbol of an innocently ruined young life. The artist’s impeccable skill will forever preserve the image of poor Lisa in our memory.