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Portrait of Anna Akhmatova. 1914

Altman Nathan,
Oil on сanvas
123,5 x 103,2

State Russian Museum


Anna Andreyevna Akhmatova (Gorenko) (1889–1966): Poetess, leading figure of the Silver Age.
This portrait is one of the finest works in Nathan Altman’s oeuvre. It was inspired by Anna Akhmatova’s poetry, the artist’s acquaintance with the poetess in Paris in 1911 and their meetings at the Stray Dog cabaret in St Petersburg.
Anna Akhmatova is depicted as many contemporaries remembered her — a melancholy young woman, tall and slim, with a sharp profile and a fringe. Working on the portrait in his studio on the Tuchkov Embankment, Altman rejected a concrete setting. The poetess is depicted against a landscape of shining crystals, symbolising the world of sublime and abstract dreams.

Author's Biography

Altman Nathan

Altman, Nathan Isayevich (1889, Vinnitsa - 1970, Leningrad)
Painter, graphic artist, sculptor, book, theatrical and cinema designer. Studied under Kiriak Kostandi and Gennady Ladyzhensky at the Odessa School of Art (1903-07) and at the Maria Vasilyeva Free Russian Academy in Paris (1910-11). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1906). Contributed to the exhibitions of the Fellowship of South Russian Artists (1910), Union of Youth (1913-14), World of Art (1913, 1915, 1916) and the Jewish Society for the Encouragement of Artists (1915-19; founding member). Taught at Mikhail Bernstein's studio (1915-16) and the State Free Art Studios in Petrograd (1918-20). Member of Department of An, People's Commissariat of Education (1918-21). Research assistant of the Institute of Artistic Culture (1923). Designed for theatres. Honoured Artist of the Russian Soviet Federater Socialist Republic (1968).

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