Kustodiev – “Beauty”
In 1915, Kustodiev completed the final formation of his style with the painting “Beauty”. Here he revealed traditional tastes in an image colored at the same time with admiration, and eroticism, and irony, depicting not just a plump, but this time a particularly puffy woman. Half-sitting, reclining on the bed, she, like the Venus of Urbinskaya Titian, calmly looks at how the viewer perceives her. This disarming frankness helps to transfer the image from an almost ambiguous situation to the aesthetic sphere. Kustodiev with pleasure conveyed the similarity of the soft and smooth pink skin of his model with the color and smoothness of a satin blanket trimmed with lace, comparing the large rounded shapes of a female body with the softness of down pillows and blanket folds. The whole atmosphere of an alcove with wallpaper on the wall, decorated with roses, with a painted elegant bottom wall of the bed, a soft ottoman under a woman’s foot, with figures (in another version – flowers and decorations) on the chest of drawers, evokes the feeling of a sensually sleepy, sweet, relaxing calm life , which is personified by the Kustodian beauty and her familiar environment.
The basis for Kustodiev’s painting “Beauty” was a pencil and sanguine drawing made from nature. By the way, a duvet was also written from nature – according to the recollections of the artist’s children, this blanket was presented by the artist’s wife on his birthday.
Kustodiev worked on this painting every day and constantly supplemented the plot with new details – for example, in the plot of the picture he added three plaster figures he bought at the Sytny market, and also repeated the pattern of the old chest wall painted on iron – on a black background, red roses in a vase.
Here is what the critic Volodarsky wrote about this work: “For me, the main thing in a painting is color. The beauty threw back the satin blanket, revealing her pink and white, like “marshmallow” body. This is one of those pictures that must be seen with your own eyes. “
It is believed that the painting “Beauty” was a kind of result of the search for Kustodiev’s own style, which began in 1912.
Year of painting: 1915.
Painting dimensions: 141 x 185 cm.
Writing technique: oil, pastel.
Gallery: State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia.