Bathers by Alexei Venetsianov

Bathers by Alexei Venetsianov

Bathers – the very first test of Venetsianov in a new area of painting for him – the image of a naked body. The plot itself is quite traditional – how many bathers by the middle of the 19th century world painting knew already! But such bathers in Russia did not know yet: two peasant women, two simple, Russian village women, are shown at a transparent stream in the shady depth of the ravine!

On a hot day they came to a stream that flows in a ravine on the outskirts of their native village, to wash away the sweat, dust and fatigue of the afflicted work. How many of them are mighty, majestic

articles! The artist does not try to gloss over them any, yes, and there is no need. They are no less beautiful than the heroines of the great masters of the past, although their hands are hardened from the heavy daily work – next to the delicate skin of a tanned body, this is especially noticeable. They are beautiful, despite the broad shoulders developed by continuous labor, despite the large feet of strong legs, far from the academic ideal.

The artist is extremely frank and truthful with the audience. The embarrassed smile of one of the women illuminates her with the pure light of chastity. A sweet face with shyly diverted eyes is full of charm of mature femininity. The second bather is sitting with her back to us. A delicate combination of colors Venetsianov conveys the warmth of the skin, the cold air of the ravine, the green foliage.

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