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Portrait of the poet Vasily Maikov

Painting, 1770-th , 47×60 cm

Description of the artwork «Portrait of the poet Vasily Maikov»

"Portrait of the poet Vasily Maikov" brush Fyodor Rokotov is considered one of the greatest masterpieces of Russian portrait art. In Soviet times, it was willingly placed in the school reading books and even on postage stamps. But the point here is not poetic achievements of Vasily Ivanovich – his poetry was a kind, sometimes scabrous, occasionally preachy, often funny and in its own way true, but still not crossed the threshold of the XVIII century, and is now of interest to historians of literature, but hardly for the readers.

The value of the portrait in our case is not determined by the model, and artist. Not a t-shirt, and Rokotov. However, exactly how wonderful roars has managed to capture the eccentricity of human nature. And as for the Russian XVIII century, such psychological depth were all in wonder. Rokotov in the sense of freedom of expression in his era even with whom to compare.

With a small chamber portrait interested, and ironically posted a few smug mister. His plump face, burdened with a second chin, shiny, and the lips and nose – full and red. No doubt, he is the sybarite who loves life and knows a lot about the feasts. But it is also clear that he has his own code of honor, its own solid ideas of what is acceptable and righteous. He was a classmate and friend of Suvorov, some time worked as the Prosecutor of the Military Collegium and in this position does not tarnish.

Revolving among the best men of his time, among educators and the Freemasons, Mike, of course, participated in the famous discussions of the age of Enlightenment on the improvement of laws and the improvement of morals. Yes, just look at all this with a pinch of irony and common salt. This is what we read in his expression mokotowska portrait. "Lie, but not lie like a gas meter!" – as if mockingly want to say Mike's response to someone's idealistic impulse.

At the time, Maikov's poem "Elisha, or Angry Bacchus", where he is naturalistic and competently depict taverns, police and neighborhood hot spots of St. Petersburg bottom, made a lot of noise. Modern readers of all sabresonic only know Barkov. But Mike, too, was not averse to obscene speech, and did so with gusto. Salon sissy, of course, wincing. But later creativity Maikov was hot protector – Pushkin. Few people know that famous line from "Eugene Onegin" "I read willingly Apuleius, and Cicero did not read" in the draft was different: "I read eagerly Elisha, and Cicero cursed". "Elisha" is just a fun poem by the poet Vasily Maikov.

Critics claim that for the transmission of epicurean nature Maikov roars exploited all the possibilities of color, choosing a lively combination of vibrant shades of red and green for his jacket. We, unfortunately, are not given in full measure color brightness: blame rokotovskie primers and varnishes, which have not stood the test of time and is much faded. But kept the main thing – funny, smart, ironic and cheerful face. Living face of the man and pulls to keep a pleasant acquaintance.

If we can in some way to blame Vasily Ivanovich Maikov is that, like other writers, he left no memories of Rokotov. And it's really paradoxical and rare in the history of art the situation when about the artist we know far less than about his models.

Author: Anna Yesterday
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Portrait

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1770-th

Size: 47×60 cm

Artwork in selections: 4 selections