Portrait A.WITH. Pushkin, Kiprensky – overview

Portrait A.WITH. Pushkin, Kiprensky – overview
Portrait A.WITH. Pushkin, Kiprensky - overview - 1

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

Overview of the painting :

Portrait A.WITH. Pushkina – Orest Adamovich Kiprensky. 1827. Oil on canvas. 63 x 54 cm

   This portrait of the great Russian poet is definitely considered one of the best lifetime images. The fact that the artist always painted his paintings only from nature gives him a special charm and attractiveness, so the accuracy of the image can be completely trusted. In addition, the master is considered the best Russian portrait painter of that time, with incredible skill reproducing not only the smallest details, but also skillfully transmitting the character’s mental experiences.

   The closest friend of Pushkin, the famous poet Anton Delvig, ordered the picture, just three years before his own untimely death. He insisted that the image of the Museum appear in the background in the form of a small ancient bronze statue holding a lyre in his hands. This reference to the occupation of Pushkin is intended to hint that the poet is depicted in the process of creativity, immersed in his own consciousness when he was visited by a muse. There is no longer a single detail on the canvas that distracts the attention of the audience from the duvetous face of the poet.

   The background is a golden brown, rather light ass, slightly glowing around the poet’s head. This technique gives the picture volume and fills it with air, makes the image more clear, spectacular. For us, who know well what future events will turn out for Pushkin, this bright outline seems like a hint of a martyr’s halo.

   On the canvas Pushkin is depicted as a real dandy. He is very elegant, even exquisitely dressed in a frock coat of smooth dark fabric, a boiled-white shirt, from which only a fragment of the collar is visible, and a luxurious cloak with a beautiful lining in a Scottish cage. According to the fashion of that time, he casually pounced on his shoulder. A wide silk tie is tied around the neck, whose soft satin shine pleasantly shades the dullness of other materials. It becomes clear that the great Pushkin was also an excellent fashionista, dandy.

   But the poet’s face is most noteworthy. Despite all his “African” uglyness, his appearance is unusually attractive, and the artist masterfully managed to convey this. He has very clear, clean eyes, an expressive look, facing away from the viewer and as if looking deep into himself. A complete illusion is created that right now, before our eyes, the great poet is considering his next brilliant essay, which will immortalize his name.

   The ability of the artist to transmit the common, without disregarding the smallest details, is impressive even by many modern spectators who have seen. It is worth paying attention to the perfectly polished and carefully fed nails of the poet, who always “thinking about the beauty of nails”, as well as to white, tender and cholen hands. On the portrait, each element matters, even masterly written greenish and red cloves of the cloak lining. The violent hair of Pushkin, his voluminous curly whiskers, is equally meticulously depicted. The image seems so natural that it seems as if you can reach out and feel their density, the elasticity of a glossy, well-groomed and neatly laid curl.

   Apart from the checkered lining of the poet’s cloak, the color scheme of the picture is rather restrained and noble, aged in soft dark, brownish tones. Against their background, the poet’s face seems very bright, lively and expressive. Undoubtedly, this portrait is one of the artist’s best paintings, the most expressive portrait of Pushkin and the real pearl of the museum. With his skill and talent as a portrait painter, the artist not only created an incredibly accurate and beautiful portrait of the great Russian poet, but also forever immortalized his own name, preserving it for the history of art.