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Little Woman. 1910

Della-Vos-Kardovskaya Olga,
Oil on canvas
129 x 110,5

State Russian Museum

Пост.: 1911, приобр. с выставки НОХ


Depicts: Ekaterina Dmitriyevna Kardovskaya (1900–1985, married name Albitskaya): Daughter of Dmitry Kardovsky and Olga Della-Vos-Kardovskaya.
Like the majority of students of Ilya Repin, Olga Della-Vos-Kardovskaya was a passionate portraitist. She herself painted many acclaimed images of Anna Akhmatova, Nikolai Gumilyov and Dmitry Kardovsky. Based on a portrait of the artist’s daughter, Little Woman is tinged with retrospectivism. The ten-year-old model peers inquisitively at her own reflection in an old mirror. The girl is depicted in the sunlit environment of a mid-nineteenth-century manor-house, surrounded by various elegant objects – silent witnesses of the past. For many Russians living in the early twentieth century, this world was associated with the Ivan Turgenev period. It was perceived as an embodiment of a lost beauty, harmony and humanity, subtly expressed in Andrei Bely’s Gold in Azure cycle of poems and the prose of Ivan Bunin. As in the works of the other Neo-Romantic artists of St Petersburg, Little Woman whimsically intertwines the past and the present, admiration for the charm of youth, elegiac sorrow at the swift passage of time and reflections on the continuity of the generations.

Author's Biography

Della-Vos-Kardovskaya Olga

1875, Chernigov — 1952, Leningrad
Painter, teacher; portraitist, landscapist, author of interiors and retrospective works. Wife of artist Dmitry Kardovsky. Studied at Yegor Schreider’s studio in Kharkov (1891–1894) and under Ilya Repin at the Higher School of Art, the Imperial Academy of Arts (1894–1899). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1896). Taught at her own studio in Tsarskoe Selo (1903–1908) and the Higher Art and Technical Studios in Petrograd (1921).

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