Perov – “Portrait of Dostoevsky”

Portrait of F.M. Dostoevsky, painted by Perov by order of the Tretyakov Gallery, was completed in 1872. The artist wrote it with inspiration, completely devoting himself to the task at hand, because the great Russian writer was close to him in spirit, ideologically and religiously. But, despite his creative upsurge, while working on the portrait, Perov stumbled over the self-criticism of himself and the grandeur of Dostoevsky’s personality. Having overcome all difficulties, Vasily Perov created a truly outstanding portrait based not only on maximum external similarity, but also on a true reflection of the essence of a person, his character.

In the picture, the artist depicted the writer against a dark background, there is no color scale as such, the artist directed all means to show the inner world of Dostoevsky, without being distracted by external trifles. The viewer is shown the writer a little from above and from the side. An attentive gaze directed at one point, a slight turn of the head, a tense posture with clasped hands on the knee – all indicate that the writer is extremely focused and tense internally. The composition of the work is very closed and is aimed only at isolating the writer from everything external, unnecessary. The surrounding environment is simply absent in the picture, the artist even practically hid the chair in which Dostoevsky is sitting.

Year of painting: 1872.

Dimensions of the painting: 99 x 80.5 cm.

Material: canvas.

Writing technique: oil.

Genre: portrait.

Style: realism.

Gallery: State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia.

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