Museums and Art

Reading. Portrait of Sofya Nikolaevna Kramskoy, 1863

Reading. Portrait of Sofya Nikolaevna Kramskoy, 1863

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Reading. Canvas, oil

Contemporaries noted that Kramskoy was always a loving husband and parent. To his wife, Sofya Nikolaevna, the painter was warm and warm, having managed through his whole life to carry love and respect, calling her his guardian angel and permanent muse.

The most famous portrait of the artist’s wife is the lyric painting “Reading”. The picture belongs to the early period of creativity, but the foundations of the style of an outstanding master have already been outlined here.

By its nature, the portrait can be attributed to chamber and very personal works. In a relaxed pose, bending over a book, propping her head with her hand, a young woman sits. Her face is focused and calm. The author seemed to have peeped at this idyllic picture secretly from the portrait.

The most amazing thing in the picture is the mood. We do not see the eyes of Sofya Nikolaevna (and, as you know, they are the mirror of the soul), but even from this angle, the whole appearance of the spouse reads such tenderness, warmth and soulfulness - those qualities that Kramsky so admired.

To depict his muse, the author chose pastel pencils. It was this technique that made it possible to create that softness, tenderness and freshness of the portrait, coupled with aristocracy and sophistication.

With his beloved wife, Kramskoy lived all his life, until his death. Six strong children were born from this strong model union, two of whom they lost in early childhood.

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