Newspaper readers in Naples - Orest Adamovich Kiprensky. 64.5 x 78.3 cm
Among the paintings by Orest Kiprensky, there is one that has not only a rather interesting background, but also has become fundamental in a new genre direction. The canvas "Newspaper Readers in Naples" is actually the first known group portrait. The painting was painted around 1831, during the second Italian period, characterized by maturity, completeness of form and honed skill of the famous portrait painter.
The painting "Newspaper Readers in Naples" depicts four young men, three of whom are listening attentively to their comrade reading aloud a fresh newspaper. Obviously, the events described in the article are incredibly alarming. The faces of the listeners express concern, excitement and extreme interest.
Despite the fact that the author in one of the letters described the canvas as a political reading about Poland by Russian travelers, there is an opinion that the painting depicts famous Polish figures - Adam Mickiewicz, Count Pototsky, poets Zygmunt Krasinsky and Anthony Odynets. Researchers believe such cunning is due to the artist’s reluctance to once again recall the sensational Polish uprising that happened in 1830.
In the group portrait of Kiprensky, you can see many hidden characters. For example, a man engaged in reading in his arms can see a small decorative dog sitting very close to the newspaper page. Thus, the master unobtrusively focuses on the newspaper, making it clear to the viewer how important the information printed on paper is. Also an equally striking example of symbolism is the image of Vesuvius in the background of the picture. The dormant volcano seen behind the backs of the audience means the dormant revolutionary forces seething in the bowels of the people’s anger. This hint very accurately expresses the attitude of the master, his unspoken encouragement and support for public moods.