Portrait of Yu. P. Samoylova with Giovannina Pacini and Arapchonka by Karl Bryullov

Portrait of Yu. P. Samoylova with Giovannina Pacini and Arapchonka by Karl Bryullov

By the beginning of the 1830s, Bryullov occupied one of the leading places in Russian and Western European art. . A new speech by a Russian artist who exhibited at the next Italian exhibition “Portrait of Count Yu. P. Samoilova with her daughter and a peasant woman” was greeted not only by the Russian but also by the Italian press as a remarkable phenomenon of portraiture. The whole strength of his inspired talent was put by Bryullov into the image of a close friend and invariable admirer of her art, Countess Julia Pavlovna Samoilova.

Distinguished by the beauty, expansiveness of character, considering

herself “royal blood”, Yu. P. Samoilova kept herself quite independently. She possessed a huge fortune, she led a free life, causing constant discontent of Nicholas. In her estate “Slavyanka” near St. Petersburg, prominent figures of literature and art gathered, and in the villa of Milan there were Bellini, Rossini, Donizetti, Pacini, whose little daughter she adopted. Being a frequent guest in Samoilova’s house, Bryullov found rest in the world of his favorite music. Yulia Pavlovna accompanied her friend many times during his wanderings around Italy.

The portrait of Yu. P. Samoilova was started by Briullov immediately after the termination of the “Horseman”. Undoubtedly, it was preceded by a long development in pencil sketches and sketches. Knowing the creative method of Bryullov, we can assume the existence of unknown to us working albums of 1832 – 1834-ies. In the portrait of Samoilova Bryullov most fully revealed the theme of life that fascinated him.

The image of a woman and a friend brought a special joyfully raised line of thoughts and feelings to the portrait. in the portrait Samoilova harmoniously combined the vividness of direct observations with the spectacular appearance of a large portrait. With great force of persuasiveness, Bryullov reflected the feelings that possessed his heroes: the ardor and neglect of Samoylova, the gullibility and tenderness of Giovannina, the respectfulness and astonishment of the Arapchuk. Covered with a single impulse, they move forward. Capturing the momentary movement, Bryullov did not break the monumentality of the canvas.

In this ability to artistically generalize their impressions, preserving the vivacity and immediacy of their expression, was one of the strongest aspects of Briullov’s creative gift. In the group portrait of Bryullov, the image of Yu. P. Samoilova dominates. Entering the composition of the image of Giovannina and the Arapchonka, Bryullov reduced their role to the importance of accompaniment, shading the sound of the main theme – the triumph of beauty and youth Samoilova. Masterfully grouped Samoylova, Giovannina and Arapchonka. Shaking off the shawl to the Arapchka who ran up to her, Samoylova gently embraces Giovanni.

Turning to the transfer of the interior, Bryullov remained stingy and taciturn in the characteristics of the situation, confining himself to the image of the sofa, on which falls a heavy curtain, a carpet covering the floor, and the edge of the carved frame of the painting hanging on the wall. The artistic merits of the portrait of Yu. P. Samoilova provided him with a warm welcome from the Italian public. The portrait of Briullov, exhibited after Rome in the Palazzo Brera, was recognized as the best work of the exhibition.

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