Description of the painting by Ivan Kramskoy “Reading” (1863)

Description of the painting by Ivan Kramskoy “Reading” (1863)

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The canvas belongs to the early stage of the artist’s work, but many distinctive features inherent in him, which determined the style of the painter in the future, were already manifested in him. The portrait shows the wife of the master, the marriage with which was prosperous and harmonious. Kramskoy for many years retained a sense of love, respect and affection for his wife and often painted her portraits.

The canvas depicts a young charming woman dressed in a pretty fashionable dress. She is concentratedly inclined over a rather large book, her expression is serious, her posture is free. The heroine supports her head with one hand, gracefully leaning on the railing. Viewers do not see her gaze, sometimes characterizing a person, but her character can be determined. Kramskoy in the portrait through expressive coloring and chiaroscuro shows her tenderness, sensuality, softness - all those qualities that he appreciated in her. However, the image does not lose its dignity and spiritual strength.

The composition of the portrait was solved rather plastic: the main character is located in a garden or park on a bench made of stone against the background of the darkening greenery of trees. The portrait painter seemed to spy on her secretly from her. Her delightful white dress seems to shine, contrasting with this background, casting the deepest glare on her calm, inspired face. The artist painstakingly works out all the details: dark shiny curly hair styled in an elegant hairstyle, an expensive brooch on a dress, an exquisite shawl, lowered from the shoulders, are realistically written.

He painted his beloved master with pastel pencils, using this technique the painting is given lightness, grace, grace. The character of the portrait can be called chamber and private. Surprising in the picture is her mood, which allows the artist to reveal the depth of the heroine’s spiritual life. The whole appearance of his wife is imbued with a unique refined aristocracy, enhancing the impression of the portrait.

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