Description of the painting “Unknown”, Kramskoy, 1883

Description of the picture:

Unknown – Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoy. 1883. Oil on canvas. 75×99

   Before us is a city fashionista. The girl is perfectly dressed. Haughty facial expression gives out the nature of spoiled, capricious. The artist undoubtedly chose a beautiful girl as a model. Big black eyes surrounded by magnificent eyelashes, full lips, thick eyebrows, soft oval face, oriental nose. The oriental beauty glances proudly at the viewer, sitting in an open carriage.

   The background of the portrait is a winter city landscape. But the background is very delicate, unobtrusive and secondary. He should in no way distract the viewer’s attention from the model: at home, as if in a haze, the sky is neutral white.

   The heroine is dressed expensively and tastefully. A dark blue fur coat trimmed with gray fur, decorated with silk ribbons to match the fur coat. Flirty clutch does not hide thin gloves and heavy gold bracelets on a graceful handle. The outfit is crowned with a beret decorated with a white feather and pearls.

   The master perfectly conveys the texture of silk, velvet and fur. Gold sparkles with restraint, pearls are in perfect harmony with feather and beret.

The light in the picture is very even, colorless. The author clearly admires his model, therefore does not leave a place for shadow.

   The once swarthy face of the beauty is whitened by Russian frosts. The heroine’s eyes preserved the eastern temperament, but half-closed eyelids muffle the southern ardor.

   It is no coincidence that this particular work of the author was recognized as a model of taste, femininity and beauty. The work went into tens of thousands of lithographs, millions of magazine illustrations.

   The work is full of ambiguities and mysteries. Nobody will ever know who was a model. The author himself did not leave any information about this in his diaries. There is an assumption that the depicted girl is nothing more than a fantasy of the artist. Skillful fiction, vision, mirage. Which in no way diminishes the artistic value of a talented work."

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