Portrait of the writer F. M. Dostoevsky, Perov – overview of the painting

Portrait of the writer F. M. Dostoevsky, Perov – overview of the painting
Portrait of the writer F. M. Dostoevsky, Perov - overview of the painting - 1

  • Author: Vasily Grigoryevich Perov
  • Museum: Tretyakov Gallery
  • Year: 1872

Overview of the painting :

Portrait of F. M. Dostoevsky – Vasily Grigoryevich Perov. Oil on canvas. 99.6 x 81 cm
   Portrait of F. M. Dostoevsky was written by V. G. On the orders of the patron and founder of the famous gallery Pavel Tretyakov. The artist respected and loved the writer’s work, their views on the world coincided in many ways, so this work was entrusted to Perov.

   It is impossible to portray such a great and deep personality as Dostoevsky was without additional preparation. Before starting to paint, Perov talked with the writer for a week and tried to catch the expression on the face with which Dostoevsky was thinking. At that time, the classic worked on “Bes,” one of his greatest novels.

   In the portrait, the writer is depicted sitting in the semi-anfas. He looks extremely focused, immersed in his thoughts, even tense. The look was directed away from the viewer – “look at yourself” was characteristic of Dostoevsky during work. Hands are clutching on the knee, emphasizing the isolation of the hero. This pose can also be a reference to the picture of I. N. Kramsky “Christ in the Desert”, written in the same year.

   The background of the canvas is dark, the light falls on the face of Dostoevsky, thereby highlighting it. In general, the color scheme is not diverse – this allows you to focus on the skillful use of shadows and glare, with which Perov shows the thin, exhausted face of the writer, protruding veins on his hands, the relief of his jacket.

   The contrast between the background and the foreground conveys the exclusivity of Dostoevsky, who is close to God, living in a society full of sinfulness, lies, crimes.

   The painting was so good for the artist that it is considered, firstly, the best portrait of Dostoevsky, and secondly, the best portrait of Perov’s work. Indeed, such a similar similarity of the worldviews of the writer and artist was fully reflected in their creative union.