Sleeping girl

Sonia Delaunay • Painting, 1907, 46×55 cm
About the artwork
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Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Portrait
Style of art: Fauvism
Technique: Oil
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: 1907
Size: 46×55 cm
Artwork in collection: Smart and Beautiful Natalya Kandaurova
Artwork in selections: 12 selections

Description of the artwork «Sleeping girl»

The Sleeping Girl refers to the early period of Sonia Delaunay. The famous abstractionist began with figurative images, in which the influence of Fauvism, Expressionism andPost-Impressionism is felt.

We can see a sleeping girl. In contrast to the traditional composition for such subject, the girl does not lie, she sleeps sitting, with her elbows on kind of an arm of the sofa. The picture is filled with a sense of relaxation, harmony, and peace. The expression of absolute peace, the perfectly conveyed complete relaxation of the brush, the play of light and shadow on the girl’s face leave no doubt about the artist’s talent. Meanwhile, Sonia Delaunay at that time was barely 22 years old.

The general mood of the picture allows us to compare the Sleeping Girl with the  "Sweet dream" by Henri Matisse. In both pictures, the dream is really sweet. Perhaps watching them should be a therapy recommended to those suffering from insomnia, to feel what relaxation and bliss of sleep are.

The colour scheme of the picture would have been muted, if not for the scarlet lips, the blush of the cheeks, its reflections on her hand. The pink colour creates a feeling of freshness, youth and confirms the young artist’s passion for fauvism.
The undoubted influence of Gauguin is quite evident. The lush body, bright colours, plump lips, contoured facial features, and most importantly — the feeling of a healthy, bodily, lively beginning make the Sleeping Girl akin to Gauguin’s Tahitian women. 
Sonia Delaunay’s early paintings have not yet been “geometrized”, her signature style would emerge later. But they are so juicy, bright and filled with life-giving energy that they create a feeling of power, which the artist herself has not yet managed to curb. Her second husband, Robert Delaunay would certainly help her with this. But she came to meet him as a mature artist, with a strong brush and colour courage (and she also taught her husband the latter).

Author: Aliona Esaulova