Description of the picture:
Portrait of F. I. Chaliapin in the role of Holofernes – Alexander Yakovlevich Golovin. 1908. Canvas, tempera, pastel. 163.5×212
“Portrait of F. I. Chaliapin as Holofernes” belongs to the number of the best works of the artist and set designer A. Ya. Golovin (1863-1930). It reproduced the mise-en-scene from A. N. Serov’s opera “Judith”.
Chaliapin-Holofernes reclines on a luxurious bed in a lavishly stowed tent, holding a bowl in his right хэнд, and pointing forward with an arrogant gesture with his left. The composition of the canvas is built according to the laws of easel painting, and the angle of the model and the arbitrary illumination of objects tell the work the nature of the fresco painting. The figure of Chaliapin in the role of the Assyrian commander almost merges with the background, which makes her look like a kind of decorative pattern. The canvas is penetrated by a wave-like movement, which is the main plastic motif that expresses the nature of the musical decision of the image of the eastern commander. The coloristic sound of the work is extremely rich. In this theatrical portrait, Golovin, with the richly vivid color of the artist’s costume and headgear, seems to emphasize the beauty of the voice of the great Russian singer."