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Girl in a Hay Loft. 1830s

Venetsianov Alexei,
Oil on canvas
83,5 x 102

State Russian Museum

Пост. в 1897 из Александровского дворца (Царское Село); ранее (до 1870) – в собр. В. А. Кокорева (Москва)


The picture is a combination of genre and portrait painting typical of the art of Alexei Venetsianov. The artist’s models were mostly the peasants from the village of Safonkovo in Tver Province – neighbours that he himself had known for many years. Although the image of the peasant girl is realistically authentic, it also displays a certain degree of generalization and monumentaIism. Her regular features and simple yet austere clothing conjure up images of the classical art of ancient Greece. Venetsianov was convinced that it was the common people who were the true bearers of the nation’s morality – genuine piety and the ability to form strong personal bonds. The gestures of the young woman, who holds a ringlet in her hand and examines the cross around her neck with sorrow, hint at the existence of some hidden melancholy.

Author's Biography

Venetsianov Alexei

Venetsianov, Alexei Gavrilovich
1780, Moscow - 1847, Poddubie (Tver Province)
Founding father of Russian peasant genre painting. Painter, portraitist, etcher, lithographer. Son of a Moscow merchant, educated at private boarding school, worked as a draughtsman. Moved to St Petersburg (1802) and worked as a land surveyor for the crown properties and forestry departments. Studied painting independently, copied works in the Imperial Hermitage and drew pastel portraits. Academician (1811). Resigned from the civil service, moved to the country and painted genre scenes from life (early 1820s). Exhibited at the Imperial Academy of Arts and the Society for the Encouragement of Artists. Had many students, who formed the Venetsianov school in Russian art. Killed in a road accident at the Milyukov estate.

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