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Portrait of Anna Benois-Cherkesova and Son. 1922

Serebryakova Zinaida,
Oil on canvas
80 х 68

State Russian Museum


Anna Alexandrovna Benois (1895–1984): Amateur artist, eldest daughter of Alexander and Anna Benois, wife of the artist Yury Cherkesov. Studied under father Alexander Benois, Alexander Yakovlev (1916–17) and under Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin at the Free Art Studios in Petrograd (1918). Emigrated to Paris (1925). Secretary to Alexander Benois, keeper of his archive. First cousin of the artist.
Alexander Yurievich Cherkesov (1920–1984): Artist. Known in the family as Tatan. Alexander and his father (also an artist) were arrested in June 1941, during the German occupation of France. They were sent to the Compiègne concentration camp, where Yury Cherkesov committed suicide in July 1943.
Zinaida Serebryakova’s portraits of children occupy a special place in her oeuvre. Such images embody something ultra-personal that is typical of childhood as a whole, with its serene purity on the one hand, and expectations of the unknown future on the other.
Looking at the child sleeping placidly in its mother’s arms – a paraphrase of the Madonna and Child – it is impossible to imagine the harsh fate in store for the little boy. Only the eyes of the mother, frozen in silent query, betray a light feeling of alarm.

Author's Biography

Serebryakova Zinaida

Serebryakova, Zinaida Yevgenyevna (1884, Neskuchnoe (Kursk Gubernia) - 1967, Paris)
Painter, graphic artist. Sister of Yevgeny Lanceray and niece of Alexander Benois. Studied under Ilya Repin at the Princess Maria Tenisheva School (1901), at Osip Braz's studio in St Petersburg (1903-1905) and the Academic de la Grande-Chaumiere in Paris (1905-1906). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1910). Contributed to the Exhibition of Modern Female Portraits (1910) and the exhibitions of the Union of Russian Artists (1910), World of Art (1911-1924; member from 1910), Russian Landscapes (1918-1919), House of Arts (1920), International Exhibition in Pittsburgh (1925) and the Exhibitions of Russian Art in New York (1924), Toronto (1925), Los Angeles (1925), Paris (1927, 1932), Brussels (1928), Berlin (1930) and Belgrade (1930). Emigrated to Paris (1924).

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