Siestas

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Famous Russian painter

Valentin Serov

Valentin Alexandrovich Serov (Russian: Валенти́н Алекса́ндрович Серо́в; January 19, 1865 - December 5, 1911) was a Russian painter, and one of the premier portrait artists of his era.

From 1890 on, the portrait became the basic genre in Serov's art. It was in this field that his early style would become apparent, the paintings notable for the psychologically pointed characteristics of his subjects. Serov's favorite models were actors, artists, and writers (Konstantin Korovin, 1891, Isaac Levitan, 1893, Nikolai Leskov, 1894, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, 1898, - all in the Tretyakov gallery).

Initially abstaining from the polychromatic, brightly colored painting style of the 1880s, Serov often preferred a dominant scale of black-grey or brown tones. Impressionistic features appeared sometimes in composite construction of a portrait, or to capture a sense of spontaneous movement. As in the work of his contemporaries John Singer Sargent and Anders Zorn, the impressionism is not doctrinaire, but derives as much from the study of Hals and Velázquez as from modern theory. Receiving wide popularity, in 1894 Serov joined with the Peredvizhniki (The Itinerants), and took on important commissions, among them portraits of grand duke Pavel Alexandrovich, (1897, Tretyakov Gallery), S.M. Botkin, 1899, and F.F. Yusupova, 1903 as well as Princess Olga Orlova ne'e Olga Constantinovna Belosselskaya-Belozerskaya(these in the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg). In these truthful, compositionally skillful, and picturesque executions in the grand manner, Serov consistently used linear-rhythmic drawing coupled with decorative color combinations.

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The girl with peaches (1887) was the painting that inaugurated Russian Impressionism.

At the same time, he developed a contrasting direction: he frequently produced intimate, heartfelt, chamber portraits, mainly of children and women. In portraits of children Serov aspired to capture pose and...

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