Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Valentin Serov

Valentin Serov (1865-1911) was a Russian artist best known for two things: his portraits, and for introducing Impressionism to Russia. I like his portraits much better, so I focus on those. Above, K. Pobedonostsev, 1902.

Self portrait of about 1885. Serov was the son of a composer and conductor, born into the artistic elite of St. Petersburg. As you can see from this work he was something of a prodigy, and several of his most famous paintings were done before he was 25.

Here is one of those early, Impressionist landscapes, Winter in Abramtsevo: the Mansion, 1886.

Later on Serov concentrated on portraits. He worked in several media: oils, pastels, charcoal. Sophia Botkina, 1899.

Anton Chekhov, 1903.

Female Model with Loose Hair, 1899.

The mysterious Botkin, who seems not to have even a first initial, and no date. Wonderful image, though.

Isaac Levitan, 1900.

Tsar Nicholas II, 1900.

Nadehda Derviz with Her Child, and detail, 1889.

Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, 1898.

V.P. Ziloti, 1902.

Writer Nicholay Leskov.

This is the only political work I have found of Serov's, ambiguously titled All Are Heroes, 1905. However, I read that he was a democrat, and that after the Tsarist crackdown that followed the 1905 revolution he resigned from the St. Petersburg Academy.

Helena Roerich,1909

Izabella Grunburg, 1910

And a famous portrait of Princess Olga Orlova, completed not long before Serov's death in 1911. Serov once wrote, "There is nothing more difficult than talking about art."

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