Perhaps the most famous painting by the remarkable Russian-French artist Zinaida Serebryakova is “At Breakfast”, or, as it is also called, “At Lunch”. The confusion in the name stems from changing habits and daily routines. The fact is that before the revolution, many families had two breakfasts: one early, very light, and then, at noon, followed by a fairly plentiful meal, but it was also called breakfast, and later became known as lunch. In the painting, the artist depicted her three children waiting for lunch.
A family portrait looks like it was painted in an instant, like a photograph, there is no feeling of some kind of posturing, the poses and expressions on the faces of children are completely natural. Little Shurik turned and looked at his mother with his big eyes, his brother Zhenya was drinking water from a glass, and their sister put her hand on a plate and also looked at her mother with an attentive gaze. Each child in the picture is unique in its own way, each has its own look and facial expression. The clothes on the children are modest at home, but it is evident that they are dressed with love and attention.
Attention is drawn to the table setting. It is not that rich, but rather noble, to match the traditions of that time: a white tablecloth, beautifully folded cloth napkins, a china set, a decanter for drinks and a large tureen at the head of the table, which created confusion with the name of the picture.
Zinaida Serebryakova’s painting “At Breakfast” captivates with its sincerity, touching and spirituality. The pure, immaculate image of young children, as well as the special handwriting of an artist with a difficult fate, seems to give spiritual light to any viewer.
Year of painting: 1914.
Painting dimensions: 88.5 × 107 cm.
Writing technique: oil.
Genre: genre painting.
Gallery: State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia.