Lady in Blue, Konstantin Andreevich Somov

Description of the picture:

The lady in blue is Konstantin Andreevich Somov. 1897-1900. Canvas, oil. 103×103
   “Lady in Blue” – portrait-picture, which depicts the artist E. M. Martynova – a close friend of the author and his fellow student at the Academy of Fine Arts. Before us is an old stylized park and a woman dressed in a luxurious dress of the 18th century with her complex emotional world. A retrospective portrait created by the artist is a new phenomenon in Russian art. The details of the “gallant age” combined in the picture and the sophisticated look of the yearning lady of the Silver Age ultimately convey the spirit of a complex and controversial era.

   The composition is based on a comparison of plans and their coloristic decision. A slender female figure fits perfectly into the square format of the canvas, which gives the portrait a certain representativeness. The tints of the deep blue color of the heroine’s robes set off the transparency of the bluish shades of a thinly written face, open fragile shoulders, emphasize the expressiveness of the gesture of beautiful hands. All the plastic model recalls the great masters of past eras. An ancient park with a pond and a pair of musicians playing in the distance clearly contrasts with the mood of the portrait. It’s more like a memory park in which time muffled all the colors, and the leaves of the bush, which is the background for the figure in blue, are a strange “inanimate” color (this happens on old faded tapestries). The connecting link between the past and the present here is a male figure, in the guise of which the author of the picture is guessed.

   In the works of Somov (1869-1939) the portrait of E. M. Martynova occupies a special place, he will never again create anything equivalent to “The Lady in Blue” in elevation, poetry and purity of image, in the power of expressiveness and in a certain “absolute” artistic embodiment ."

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