Kramskoy – “Portrait of Vera Nikolaevna Tretyakova”
The portrait of Vera Nikolaevna Tretyakova is designed as a one-figure composition. Large format, full-length image of a model are traditional features of a ceremonial portrait. But Kramskoy sought to rethink the scheme of the ceremonial portrait, abandoning decorative effects, “posing, noise, shine”, which, according to the artist, was “the essence of the portraits required by the public.” Opposing the ceremonial secular image with his own version of a large-format female portrait, Kramskoy turned to the tradition of “walking portrait”, coming from the English art of the era of sentimentalism and spreading on Russian soil, primarily in the work of Vladimir Borovikovsky (“Catherine 11 on a walk in Tsarskoye Selo Park”). Choosing a landscape background, Kramskoy did not set himself plein-air tasks. He used the type of “portrait-walk” as a universal model of man’s relationship with the natural world, where the very motive of “walking” is thought of as a process of moral improvement and is equated with the favorite in Russian art of the second half of the 19th century, the motive of the path, the road, finding one’s own destiny.
Year of painting: 1876.
Dimensions of the painting: 226 x 148 cm.
Writing technique: oil.
Gallery: State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia.