Portrait of a boy Chelishchev - Orest Adamovich Kiprensky. 48 x 38 cm
This picture is one of the first children's portraits where the artist really tried to portray a child with his entire inner world, and not a small copy of an adult, as they did before. It is incomprehensible to our contemporaries that relatively recently children were not treated as it is now accepted. They didn’t even have special “children's” clothes; the kids were dressed in miniature copies of adult outfits. About any child psychology of speech did not even go.
Most portraits of children of those eras depict toddlers and adolescents as a smaller version of an adult, they are dressed up and combed just like their parents. Such paintings look artificial, and the children resemble wax statues, with the rarest exception (“The Boy in Blue” by Gainsborough and “Menins” by Velazquez).
In this portrait, the artist first portrayed a real child, without age-related styling. The painting, inscribed in an oval according to the style of that time, depicts a boy with still childishly puffy cheeks and delicate skin. He has bright, juicy lips and very expressive dark and large eyes. They immediately attract the attention of the viewer, as the artist successfully managed to convey in them a certain childish reverie. It seems that while posing the child was distracted from what was happening and lost in his thoughts.
Since it is well known that the artist painted all his portraits from nature, it becomes clear that such an attractive image of a child. The master simply amazingly conveyed all the features of a child's face and its unique expression, which immediately makes it clear that we have a child. Despite the “adult” clothes and hairstyle, this is a little boy who faces a great future. It has not yet been known to anyone, but in the future this gentle and dreamy child will become a hero of the Patriotic War of 1812, then it will enter one of the Decembrist societies that tried to change the history of the country by overthrowing the autocracy.
But all this is in the distant future, and now the future Decembrist is in a state where childhood is gradually moving into adulthood. With all the outward tenderness in the prideful posture of the boy, in his manner of holding his head and looking, one can feel the breed and excellent education. The artist managed to catch this fine line, to make the portrait alive, so he still raises admiration.
The color scheme is restrained, but expressive due to the bright central accent - the boy's scarlet vest. His dark blue frock coat creates a beautiful contrast to the juicy and catchy color, and bright colors cast pinkish highlights on his still childishly smooth and delicate cheeks. The good complexion of a child from high society is set off by the sugar whiteness of the collar of a shirt almost hidden by a high collar of outer clothing. Attracting attention and hairstyle - this is a typical men's styling, fashionable in those romantic times.
There is not a single detail in the portrait that could distract attention from the appearance of the boy and his inspired face. Compositionally, the image is perfectly inscribed in an oval, the background is uniform, grayish, designed only to give volume and vibrant colors to the portrait of the child. The clothes are also extremely simple, without details and decoration; attention is attracted only by large buttons of a highly buttoned red vest, covered with the same fabric from which the thing itself is sewn. All this is intended so that the attention of the beholder is concentrated on the boy's face, on his expressive and bottomless black eyes. If we follow the assertion that the eyes are a mirror of the soul, then the master was able to perfectly capture the living, developing soul of the child, preserving this wonderful image for posterity.