The artist Kramskoy was an outstanding portrait painter. The secret of his success was that he sought to capture not only the external resemblance, but also to reveal, guess and convey hidden, deep personality traits.
Also, Ivan Nikolayevich gave his work a personal attitude to the depicted person, gave a subjective assessment of his nature. In fact, a subtle psychological vision rarely failed the master. A close acquaintance with Repin, their frequent correspondence created the prerequisites for making the soul of a simple porter.
Kramskoy saw in his like-minded person an elevation of thoughts and feelings, a great mind and sensitivity. He managed to portray the noble appearance of the artist without embellishment and without the help of his own thinking. He saw her as clearly as he saw the intelligent facial features of the painter. The author wrote not just a person, but a certain ethical ideal, which he considered a dear friend.
Repin is depicted standing waist-high. Curly blond hair beautifully frames the face. His lips under his mustache remain motionless, but his eyes seem to smile. The look of the artist is soft and friendly. It seems that it is not the viewer who is looking at the portrait hero, but the hero at the viewer. Moreover, he knows some secret and affectionately smiles at this to himself. Perhaps this reflects the feeling of warm friendship and harmony that prevailed between the creators.
The range of shades of the canvas is mostly dark. These are black, gray, dark brown colors that complement each other. Light colors are used only for writing leather and snow-white collar shirts. The artist painstakingly achieved physical similarity by carefully prescribing the head relief, face shape, as well as skillfully receiving chiaroscuro - soft and more pronounced contrast, midtones and smooth transitions of light and dark shades.
Contemporaries testified to the rare similarity of graphic portraits of Kramskoy with the model. The artist achieved this thanks to an accurate drawing, a carefully worked out relief of the head and face, sculpting of the form with chiaroscuro - contrasts, midtones, subtle transitions of light and dark.
The organically inherent property of Kramsky was especially clearly manifested - he knows how to see in the person depicted an exalted, noble, even heroic, but not introduced from the outside, composed and contrived.
The achievement of physical similarity is far from exhausting the task of a portrait painter. Kramskoy argued the need for the portrait to express the “thought” of the artist about the person being depicted, the author’s judgment about him. Therefore, in the best works of Kramskoy, a thoughtful long study of the model, the creation by the artist of the concept of the image of the portrait was preceded by work on canvas.
Kramskoy strove to identify the complex spiritual life of a person, to reveal the most essential, deep, not lying on the surface properties of the person portrayed.
The main thing for him is the expression of an ethical ideal
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