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Artistic Culture of the 19th Century, Part 3
August 30, 2014 15:35

Back to Artistic Culture of the 19th Century, Part 2

Portrait painting reached higher heights in the 19th century and was great success. Splendor of portraits of the 18th century gave way to cordiality and sincerity.
 
Orest Kiprensky (1782 - 1836) was an outstanding representative of the new generation of romantically minded artists. His creativity was the quest for the most profound and complete revelation of a personality. The color in his portraits served to render emotionality of the image: such is the portrait of the dreamer and warrior E. V. Davydov, inspired portraits of E. P. Rastopchina and D. N. Khvostova, sublime portrayal of Alexander Pushkin, and others.
 
V. A. Tropinki (1776-1857) worked in the realm of portrait and genre art. A serf till the age of 47, he managed to create remarkable paintings of Ukrainian life (for a long time he lived in Ukraine together with the landowner). His portrait and genre paintings, such as The Old Poor Man, Lace Maker, The Guitarist, etc. are winningly sincere and heartfelt. Portraits of Alexander Pushkin and the composer Bulakhov are among his best canvasses.
 
Landscape painting was vividly represented and developed by S.F. Shchedrin (1791 - 1830), who created poetic city landscapes, views of Rome and other Italian cities. His works excel in romantic rendering of subject matters. 
The brightest phenomenon in Russian painting of that period was creativity of Karl Bryullov (1799-1852). In his early works already aspired to overcome conditionality of the academic manner of painting (Italian Midday, Girl Picking Grapes in Vicinity of Naples, and others). In 1833 he completed his famous historical masterpiece The Last Day of Pompeii, which astounded his contemporaries. 
 
His portrait paintings, such as The Horsewoman, Countess Yu. P. Samoylova, and others, show his brilliant mastery. Karl Bryullov created a series of portraits of outstanding Russian intellectuals, including V. A. Zhukovsky, I. A. Krylov, and others. A fine image of the talented creator is embodied in his self-portrait (1848) in his favourite palette of golden brown and black tones. In the second third of the 19th century Karl Bryullov resorted the genre art and adhered to realistic principles.
 
The ingenious Russian artist Alexander Ivanov (1806 - 1858) evinced most profound understanding of art and its mission in the life of society. The artist dedicated twenty years of his life (1837 - 1857) to creating the masterpiece The Appearance of Christ before the People. The plot is evangelical: John the Baptist points a crowd at the approaching Christ announced the Messiah by bible prophets. Alexander Ivanov regarded the grand topic of liberating the people, “the grieving and inconsolable” as a religious and moral subject matter and thus he showed Christ the Saviour as the liberator. Ilya Repin wrote about this canvass: “it is the most ingenious and national Russian painting. Its idea is very close it to the heart of every Russian. It shows the suppressed people starving for the words of freedom”. The painting is also innovative as regards its manner, harmoniously blending traditions of classical art with achievements of realism.
 

Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Russian Culture Russian History    

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