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Young Widow. 1850 (?)

Fedotov Pavel,
Oil on сanvas
35,4 x 31

State Russian Museum


The Russian Museum owns what is possibly the earliest and most poetic version of Pavel Fedotov’s composition (the completed canvas hangs in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow). The theme of the hard life of women was popular in Russian genre painting in the midnineteenth century. Fedotov often returned to the subject and here he resolves it in a poignant and generalized manner. In accordance with his personal creative method, the artist turns the painting into the multiple story of a young woman left without subsistence following the death of her husband. The woes of life have unexpectedly collapsed on the head of the young widow and now she is threatened with loneliness and poverty. Her property has been sealed by a bailiff and will soon be carted off to pay debts.

Author's Biography

Fedotov Pavel

Fedotov, Pavel Andreyevich
1815, Moscow -1852, St Petersburg
Painter, draughtsman, poet, genre artist, portraitist, battle painter. Born in the family of a minor civil servant. Studied at the First Moscow Military Academy (1826-33) and served as an officer in the Finland Life Guards Regiment in St Petersburg (1826-33). Attended drawing classes at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1834-44) and studied battle painting under Alexander Sauerweid. Resigned from the army in order to devote himself to painting (1840). Enrolled at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1844). Took up oil painting (1846). Academician for The Major Makes a Proposal (1848).

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