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A portrait of the writer Leonid Andreyev

Painting, 1907, 73.3×56.4 cm

Description of the artwork «A portrait of the writer Leonid Andreyev»

At its Finnish cottage in Eno Valentin Serov preferred to write what he wanted, leaving the custom work behind the walls of this log Fort. Exception he made only occasionally: a portrait of the writer Leonid Andreyev was one of them.

In 1906 the Andreeva portrait, Serov ordered the publisher of the magazine "Golden fleece" Nikolai Ryabushinsky, and Andreev wanted to be drawn "just Serov, and no one else". Deliver work in time Serov failed: Andreev, relating to the rebellion of the sailors of the Baltic fleet in Sveaborg, was forced to flee and hide from arrest in Europe. In the letter, which Serov received from Berlin, the writer admitted: "Most of all I regret that I do not have to be written by you".

A year later, Serov found out that Andreev built a house five miles from his summer house in Ino – fate hinted that it was time to give Ryabushinsky old debt.

Serov first saw Leonid Andreyev on the Maxim Gorky dacha in Kuokkala, where he discussed the first issue of the satirical magazine "Bugbear". It was a beautiful young man, full of energy, of life, of noble rage and the desire to make the world a better place. Two years later, Andreev was a shadow of its former self: in Berlin, he buried his wife, in addition Leonid Nikolaevich somewhat lost faith in the revolutionary ideals.

This change became the basis of the portrait: the mourning clothes, slack-jawed look, a sorrowful crease above the bridge of his nose. Painted in watercolor and tempera face – transparently, as if it blends into the wall: Andreev devastated and distant, as if he's not here. This man has not torn the barricades and, it seems, does not dare to meet the public eye.

In 1905 Leonid Andreyev – full of determination and hope wrote Repin. About the work the writer spoke with some disdain: "Not a portrait, but the idyll". Serov portrait Andreev valued over truthfulness and just taken a tragic note.

Pretty patted life did not break this man. He remained witty and entertaining companion, whose society Serov valued. After the picture was finished, the artist regularly visited Andreeva. He loved him as a writer, a friend, a neighbor. They had similar views on what was happening in Russia events. In addition, Andreev took Serova home on the boat – by the standards of those places and years, it was the wonder and luxury.

Two years after it was written, this portrait of Leonid Andreev married for the second time. In 1912 his son was born, which the writer called Valentine.

Author: Andrew Zimoglyadov
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Portrait

Style of art: Impressionism

Technique: Watercolor, Tempera

Materials: Cardboard

Date of creation: 1907

Size: 73.3×56.4 cm

Artwork in selections: 17 selections

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