Description of the painting by Orest Kiprensky “Portrait of V. S. Khvostov” (1814)

Description of the painting by Orest Kiprensky “Portrait of V. S. Khvostov” (1814)

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The canvas is a traditional chamber portrait, characteristic of the XVIII century. The senator and writer is shown as a private person - without awards and insignia, in ordinary clothes. In reading the image there is no drama and tension of character inherent in the canvases of painters of the past. The most dispassionate, balanced interpretation of the hero’s image, the proven composition characteristic of classicism, and the exquisitely exacting coloring of the picture confirm the character’s belonging to a new era. Khvostov is absorbed in himself, which does not surprise anyone: idealists are usually convinced individualists who consider disunity to be a normal state.

The artist model lives on the canvas. The combination of light and shadow highlights the inner world of the character, changing directly on the canvas in front of the contemplators. The background of the portrait is a velvety drapery of a brick hue, illuminated on the right side, and turning to blackness on the left, this gives the effect of infinity. The figure of Khvostov itself, through such a technique, seems to be immersed in the infinity of space. The color of the picture aggravates the impression. Bright spots are only the face, shirt and hand of the senator.

Hero's face framed by black hair is painted in warm flesh tones, with a blush emerging on her cheeks and a slight unshaven. The chamberness of the portrait is emphasized by a half-turn of the body and its breast image. Curved bushy eyebrows over thoughtful, brown-eyed, light brown eyes, tightly compressed lips, large elongated nose. It is no coincidence that the position of the hand holding the side of the coat is written. This important detail adds another extra touch to the character of the hero.

Kiprensky has a tradition of writing paired portraits. So the canvas with the image of Khvostov also has a couple - a portrait of his wife.

On the canvas in the face of the hero is reflected the imprint of his soul. Sublime pathetics are felt in the spiritual energy that the character is endowed with. The elegance is clearly perceptible in the portrait, sad feelings isolated from the insignificant routine. The master depicts a person as simple as possible - as he is alone with himself.

Salvador Dali Riddle William Tell

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