Peasant woman with cornflowers - Alexey Gavrilovich Venetsianov. 49 x 37.1 cm
Venetsianov's works relate to realism. He was one of the first in Russian painting to portray their hard life. Venetsianov's paintings are true and lyrical at the same time. He sees in serfs living people, not slaves. Shows their spiritual beauty and inner strength.
That is the picture. The artist depicted a young peasant woman sitting in a half-turn, facing the viewer. But the gaze of her dark eyes is directed to the side. A high forehead, cheeks slightly touched by a blush, a half smile froze on his lips. The face is pretty, but tired, shoulders down. Apparently, the artist painted it after a hard day's work.
The flowers of cornflowers are scattered on the girl’s lap, and over them are strained hands. Thin fingers sort out the petals of wildflowers. Cornflowers in the old days were used as a medicinal plant, and blue paint was also made of them.
Cornflower was considered a symbol of modesty and simplicity. Such is the young peasant woman. Her face is thoughtful. It can be seen that this is a quiet, gentle girl.
She is dressed quite simply. She is wearing a white shirt with wide sleeves, a blue skirt and an apron. A head scarf is tied around his head. However, her gentle image is filled with light. The artist admires her quiet inner beauty.
Venetsianov uses an unpainted dark brown background, which should not distract the viewer from the bright face of the girl. The bright blue color of cornflowers is supported by a skirt and a modest necklace on a thin neck. Heat is added by a pale yellow apron and scarf. Light spots stand out shirt and face of a peasant woman. A soft, diffused light falls on her face and figure. From this, the image seems spiritualized and especially lyrical.
This portrait of a simple girl is one of the best in Russian painting. Venetsianov was able to convey the beauty of the soul of a young peasant woman without embellishing it and without creating a cloying-pastoral picture. His “Girl with Cornflowers” is a pure and sincere image, filled with poetry and light.
By his work, the artist raises the "low" art to the "high", sung by academism. Venetsianov had a difficult relationship with fellow craftsmen. Not all artists were able to appreciate the value of his work. He was considered the author of the "low genre", depicting peasant life instead of goddesses and queens.
However, Venetsianov’s work is still relevant today with his humanism and ability to see beauty in the most ordinary. His canvases glorify the Russian people, showing his best qualities. The artist in his works admires ordinary people, their resistance to difficulties and the ability to maintain a clean soul in the difficult conditions of serfdom.
The painting was acquired by P.M. Tretyakov from the heirs of the famous philanthropist and collector, gold miner Stepan Fedorovich Solovyov in 1887. Now located in the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.