“Readers of newspapers in Naples,” Kiprensky – overview of the painting

“Readers of newspapers in Naples,” Kiprensky – overview of the painting
“Readers of newspapers in Naples,” Kiprensky - overview of the painting - 1

  • Posted by: Orest Adamovich Kiprensky
  • Museum: Tretyakov Gallery
  • Year: 1831

Overview of the painting :

Newspaper readers in Naples – Orest Adamovich Kiprensky. 1831. Oil on canvas. 64.5 x 78.3 cm

   Among the paintings of Orest Kiprensky, there is one that has not only a rather interesting background, but also has become fundamental in a new genre direction. The cloth “Hayers of newspapers in Naples” is actually the first known group portrait. The painting was written around 1831, during the second Italian period, characterized by maturity, completeness and honed mastery of the famous portrait artist.

   The painting “Readers of Newspapers in Naples” depicts four young people, three of whom listen carefully to their comrade, reading a fresh newspaper aloud. Obviously, the events described in the article are incredibly disturbing. People of listeners express concern, excitement and extreme interest.

   Despite the fact that the author in one of the letters described the canvas as a political reading about Poland by Russian travelers, there is an opinion that the picture depicts famous Polish figures – Adam Mickiewicz, Count Pototsky, poets Zygmunt Krasinsky and Anthony Odynets. Researchers consider such cunning to be associated with the artist’s reluctance to once again recall the sensational Polish uprising that happened in 1830.

   On the Kiprensky group portrait you can notice many hidden symbols. For example, in a man busy reading in his arms you can see a small decorative dog sitting very close to the newspaper page. Thus, the master unobtrusively focuses on the newspaper, making it clear to the viewer how important the information printed on paper is. Also, the image of Vesuvius in the background of the picture is considered an equally vivid example of symbolism. A sleeping volcano visible behind the backs of the audience means dormant, boiling revolutionary forces in the bowels of popular anger. This hint very accurately expresses the attitude of the master, his unspoken encouragement and support for public sentiment.