Description of the painting by Valentin Serov “Portrait of S. P. Diaghilev”

Description of the painting by Valentin Serov “Portrait of S. P. Diaghilev”

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This painting by V. Serov depicts an outstanding figure in Russian culture, the organizer of many exhibitions and operas, including in Paris, the creator of the literary magazine World of Art, Sergey Pavlovich Diaghilev.

This portrait of Serov began to paint in 1904, but the artist’s interest in the painting quickly disappeared. That is why the image is incomplete, however, the main details are prescribed, the position of the body of the posing, the background is started. We see that the artist managed to draw only some parts of Diaghilev's body: his face and right hand are pretty well drawn. Thanks to this sketch, we can understand that in front of us is a man in a sitting pose, he is about 30 years old. His head is slightly inclined to the right. It seems that a person propped his head with his right hand for a very long time. But someone distracted Diaghilev. He lifted his hand from his face, and the artist seemed to have managed to capture this fleeting moment.

The posing is depicted a little brooding and annoyed. He clearly did not like the fact that he was torn out of his own thoughts. He has black, thick, literally tarry hair, deep-set eyes, wide dark eyebrows, and a neatly trimmed mustache. Dressed in Diaghilev coat of purple-pink hue.

You can notice that the artist did not draw the hair to the end, so the fringe looks pale, almost merges with the scalp. Such incompleteness gives the picture additional romance and mystery. It is reliably known that the painting was created directly in Diaghilev’s apartment, where the editorial department of the World of Art magazine was located. Therefore, judging by the background of the canvas, with this picture we can find out what color the walls were in the apartment of the famous impresario.

In the unfinished part of the picture, we see only lines, a contour along which the artist would continue to work on the portrait.

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