Russian art in the Catherine period finally goes beyond one portrait form. A multi-genre painting system emerges at the Academy, and a historical picture appears. One of the brightest representatives of the first wave of academic students was A.P. Losenko.
ARTIST LOSENKO ANTON PAVLOVICH
A.P. Losenko called the founder of historical painting. Russian historical painting has not reached such heights as the art of portraiture. This canvas refers to the early period of the artist’s work, but he already had a certain level of preparation (before joining the Academy, IP Losenko was a student of IP Argunov). The historical genre, above all, served as an excellent experience for constructing a composition, drawing and improving the technique of oil painting. Historical painting very well embodied the principles of classicism.
This picture shows the biblical story. The canvas has a horizontal format. When building the scene, the artist does not focus on the experience of the characters, he is more interested in the very narration and preaching of the biblical plot, which is dictated by the demands of the era of classicism.
The color of the canvas is rather restrained. The product is made on a combination of brown and greenish tones, contrasting ocher, golden yellow and grayish-bluish colors.
The figures of the characters – Tovy and the angel – in their styling and stylistics resemble ancient statues. This is due to the fact that the artists at the initial stage of the Academy’s work have not yet worked out the scenes in the field performances necessary for a competent construction and a better understanding of the human body, and the elaboration of changes in the angles and muscles. Tovy and the angel are dressed like strangers, accompanied by a dog. The fish in the hands of Tobias looks like a trout. The image of the fish is made at a high level, the basic laws of construction are observed. You can not blame the artist for not knowing the anatomy, the nature of the placement of figures in space.
ARTIST FIRSOV IVAN IVANOVICH
This picture can be considered the first genre work in Russian painting. The picture was painted by Ivan Ivanovich Firsov during his stay in Paris, and more to the French art school than to the Russian. The composition allows drawing analogies with the work of Jean-Baptiste Chardin. The similarity of this picture with the works of the French painter (“Laundress”, “Artist”) is obvious. Probably, Firsov was familiar with the work of Chardin, but one should not look for direct imitation in his work.
Jean Baptiste Chardin, “The Artist”
The genre scene is unique for its time, as if snatched from life: the young painter settled down at his easel, a charming girl in a pink dress poses for him. The young model is embarrassed, the older sister gently threatens her with her finger and tenderly pats her neck. The artist draws only a moment from a long process, when reality is translated into an image on canvas, and a painting canvas appears before the viewer. In the interior of the workshop where the action takes place, we find many attributes that the artist needs in his daily writings: a box full of colors, a dummy, a plaster sculpture, a rag to wash away the paints. In the background we see a dark drapery of the curtain, closing the entrance to the neighboring compartments and two paintings on the wall – an oval portrait and a rectangular format – a landscape. However, the composition is not overloaded with decorations and very organic. The light source in the picture is located behind the painter and is aimed at the easel and model. The picture is distinguished by its exquisite color range, brownish-ocher shades and gentle, soft, pinkish-peach tones prevail on the canvas.
I.E. Grabar highly appreciated this picture: “This mysterious thing, so surprisingly snatched from life, charming in composition and beautiful in painting, is at odds with what was happening then in Russia, and should be ranked among the most charming paintings of the era.”
KHUDOZHNIK ROKOTOV FEDOR STEPANOVICH
The main contribution Rokotov FS in the development of Russian art in that he became the founder of the genre of chamber lyric female portrait. The artist studied with Antropov and Rotary, copied the paintings of L. Tokke. Rokotov was allowed to paint from life a portrait of Catherine II. According to I. Grabar, “Rokotov is a languid painter, spicy and always elegant, more talented and skilled than Antropov, but less penetrating than his.”
Portrait refers to a series of Moscow portraits. Cloth of a small format, three-quarter turn of the model, breast edge. The composition is simple. The absolute lack of background does not mean that there is no space. Such a portrait would not be in demand in St. Petersburg, where officiality was required. In Moscow, it was easier to breathe, there were no hard court demands, there was an atmosphere of freedom. This is a portrait backstage, minimizing social characteristics.