Description of the painting by Dmitry Levitsky “Portrait of M. A. Lvov” (1781)

Description of the painting by Dmitry Levitsky “Portrait of M. A. Lvov” (1781)

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The portrait depicts a heroine already painted by the artist three years before, when she was not yet the wife of his friend, enlightener N. Lvov. Time has changed the style of the portrait painter: in his canvases appeared detachment, dispassion of evaluations. The author sees his heroine as if from the outside, calmly and calmly assesses his feelings. The artistic decision of the canvas expressed the changes that occurred in the fate of Maria Alekseevna herself.

Now she has become a married lady, the owner of a literary salon, visited by the color of an enlightened society. She is slightly mocking and ironic, able to control herself and humble her heart aspirations. Compared to the previous version, the composition is simplified, the outlines become distinct and unambiguous, the contour becomes sharper. The color is based on the interweaving of smoky and lilac-pink hues, but it becomes more expressive.

The portrait is full of the artist’s great disposition for his heroine. He emphasizes her charm, sophisticated intellect, sensitivity and compassion. On the canvas, considered one of the perfect works of the painter, expressed the creative ideal of the author, who found a positive example for this. The chamber picture was created by very restrained means, without any embellishment, so as not to distract the attention of the audience.

Levitsky thinks through the composition of the picture, the location of the figure, color. He gives the model an original pose, liveliness and natural grace by tilting the head, bending the neck, and moving the shoulders. The uniqueness of the complexion, the tenderness of the skin, the light blush on the cheeks do not hide the shadow of fatigue on the model’s face, her life experience, which taught her a lot.

The artist manages to show a clever irony, slipping in a smile, and testing attention, hidden in an ironic look that directly and openly looks at the contemplator. The same is served by the details of deliberate negligence of long blond hair hairstyles descending on the shoulders, an open elegant dress with filigree inscribed folds on the sleeves. The artist is interested in revealing the inner world of the model. The standard for him is the measure of the value of the human person, given by the enlighteners.

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