Portrait of Princess EP Saltykova by Karl Bryullov

Portrait of Princess EP Saltykova by Karl Bryullov

The image of Princess EP Saltykova can be called a portrait-picture. The new qualities of Briullov’s large canvas are sincerity and lyricism in the depiction of the inner state of man. They inevitably had to destroy the conventionality and decorativeness of the ceremonial portrait.

Lowering the fan on the peacock feathers, Saltykov wearily sank into a chair. The situation with tropical plants and a leopard skin spread on the floor introduces into an unusual, almost fairy-tale world. Enchantingly glittering palette of the artist, built on a combination of colors – blue, red, green. But through

all the effects of the exotic environment Bryullov carried the soft femininity of the princess’s appearance, the poetry of her feelings, overcoming that secular aloofness that usually flows from the front portraits.

The irreproachability of the picture, the skill of the composition solution, the gloss of the texture put Saltykova’s portrait in the first row of Bryullov’s works. To work on the portrait of Saltykova, Bryullov tried to attract some of his students, but professional exactitude made him abandon the decision. “At 7 sent me Bryullov, he wanted to make me draw a perspective in the portrait of Saltykova, – wrote in his diary Mokritsky, – … I began to draw a perspective, he saw that I was awkwardly handling the ruler and brush, getting angry and going out and, finally, flared up so that he threw his palette and brushes on the floor and started drawing himself. From the incident described by Mokritsky it becomes clear that Bryullov resorted to the help of his disciples with great circumspection.

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