Kramskoy – “Inconsolable grief”

“Inconsolable Grief” is the last major painting by Kramskoy in time of creation, inspired by difficult personal memories: the death of two youngest sons. The dignity, greatness and beauty of a person in suffering is expressed by the figure of a woman in a mourning dress with features of Kramskoy, expresses the subtle beauty of “human grief, which will not soon be learned to understand and which, it seems, music alone can convey.”

Inconsolable grief is an amazing work of unusual form. A personal, intimate feeling – the grief of losing a child to Kramskoy and his wife – becomes the content of the monumental canvas. In the background of the painting, Kramskoy placed a fragment of the famous landscape of Aivazovsky “The Black Sea” as a symbol of the cruel element of life beyond man’s control, a kind of analogue of the medieval wheel of fortune. The elements of the sea are opposed by the straight and tall, like the mast of a ship, the figure of a woman.

Personal emotional drama is heroized. A work of such an incredible monumental size gave rise to an absolute conviction in the value of an individual person, her suffering, her courage in the face of fate, her ability to oppose the strength of her own spirit to anarchy and the injustice of life. For a modern person, such exposure and heroization of their feelings can cause a feeling of awkwardness.

Year of painting: 1884.

Dimensions of the painting: 228 x 141 cm.

Material: canvas.

Writing technique: oil.

Genre: portrait.

Style: realism.

Gallery: State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia.

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