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Portrait of Anna Akhmatova. 1922

Petrov-Vodkin Kuzma,
Oil on canvas
54,5 х 43,5

State Russian Museum


Anna Akhmatova’s lines from I Am Not With Those Who Have Abandoned the Earth (1922) – “There is no people on earth more tearless, haughty and simpler than us” – would make an ideal epigraph to Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin’s image of the famous poetess. The artist indirectly addresses Orest Kiprensky’s Portrait of Alexander Pushkin. The muse materialising out of the “planetary” blue background behind Akhmatova’s shoulder is not the pipe-wielding girl who dictated the poetess’s early poems; she is now an austere woman with a proudly lowered head. Nothing is known about the circumstances surrounding the painting of the portrait or where the artist made the watercolour drawing from life that served as the modello.
Anna Andreyevna Akhmatova (Gorenko) (1889–1966): Poetess, leading figure of the Silver Age.

Author's Biography

Petrov-Vodkin Kuzma

Petrov-Vodkin, Kuzma Sergeyevich
1878, Khvalynsk (Saratov Province) -1939, Leningrad
Painter, graphic artist, writer on art, history painter, portraitist. Studied at the Baron Stieglitz Central School of Technical Drawing (1895-97), under Abram Arkhipov and Valentin Serov at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1897-1904), at Anton Aube''s school in Munich (1901) and private academies in Paris. Contributed to exhibitions (from 1898). Contributed to the Salon d''Automne (1906-07, 1908), Sergei Makovsky Salon (1909), Union of Russian Artists (1909, 1910), Golden Fleece (1909), Union of Youth (1910), World of Art (191124), Second Post-Impressionist Exhibition (1912), First Free Exhibition of Works of Art (1919), Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia (1923, 1928), Four Arts (1925-29), World Exhibition in Brussels (1910) and the International Exhibitions in Rome (1911), Malmo (1914) and Venice (1924, 1928). Taught at the Elizaveta Zvantseva School of Painting and Drawing in St Petersburg (1910-15) and the Free Art Studios/Academy of Arts (1918-38). Honoured Artist of Russia (1930).

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