Konstantin Alekseevich Korovin (1861-1939) was born in an educated and wealthy family of a merchant – the Old Believer. He studied painting at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, where his mentors were famous artists AK Savrasov and VD Polenov. I entered the Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg, but soon was extremely disappointed with the methods of teaching and left this institution. During his trips to Paris, Korovin became acquainted with the new trend in art – Impressionism (from the French implession – impression).
According to experts, the artist’s work shows a significant influence of this direction, the techniques and methods of which are focused on conveying the volatility of the surrounding world and associated with it fleeting impressions. At the turn of the XIX-XX centuries. Korovin actively worked on the design of the Bolshoi and Mariinsky theaters, as well as Milan’s La Scala. He taught at the School of Painting,
Sculpture and Architecture, where he once studied himself.
It is interesting that during the First World War the artist was a disguise counselor at the headquarters of the Russian army. After the revolution of 1917, the artist did much to preserve the monuments of art. He also organized exhibitions and auctions to raise funds to help liberated political prisoners. Probably, such a person did not fit in with the new regime. In any case, the People’s Commissar A. V. Lunacharsky advised the artist to leave Soviet Russia, which he did.
Korovin spent the rest of his life in France. Fedor Ivanovich Chaliapin (1873-1938) was born in Kazan in the family of a peasant from an ancient Vyatka clan. As a child he sang in a church choir, but then the boy was sent to apprentices to a shoemaker. In 1889, the young man joined the troupe VB Serebryakov. He performed in Kazan, Ufa, Tiflis, Moscow and St. Petersburg, at first in insignificant roles, but gradually he was given the main roles. The first to extraordinary talent Shalyapin drew the attention of the famous patron of SI Mamontov, who at that time kept at his own
expense the theater in Moscow – the Russian Private Opera.
In this theater Chaliapin’s talent developed, here he created a gallery of expressive images of opera classics: Ivan the Terrible in Pskovite and the Varangian guest in Sadko. Rimsky-Korsakov, the miller in “Mermaid” A. S. Dargomyzhskogo, Ivan Susanin in “A Life for the Tsar” M. I. Glinki, Mephistopheles in “Faust” by Gounod and others. Speaking in Russian private opera, Chaliapin gained notoriety. Subsequently, he worked at the Imperial Russian Opera in Moscow (Bolshoi Theater). Chaliapin was accompanied by success abroad, on the stage of the famous La Scala, where he acted as Mephistopheles in the opera of the same name by the Italian composer A. Boito. He gave guest performances at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, which was a significant event in the cultural life of the northern capital of Russia. The events of the 1905 revolution
The folk song “Dubinushka” in his performance by many was perceived as a call for decisive action. In favor of the workers, the singer transferred the fees from his speeches. After 1917, the Bolshevik government initially reacted favorably to Chaliapin. In 1918 he was appointed artistic director of the Mariinsky Theater, the first in Soviet Russia was awarded the title People’s Artist of the Republic. However, the situation in the country, apparently, began to weigh the singer. In 1922 he went on a long tour abroad. Rumors of his sympathy for the emigrants rang out. Anyway, Chaliapin did not return to Russia, although he dreamed about it till the end of his days.
Shalyapin’s talent combined a unique voice and bright artistry. The phenomenon of the singer of such magnitude had a significant impact on world opera. The portrait of Chaliapin Korovin wrote in France, in Vichy, where the artist came for a health amendment. Ready-made portrait Korovin sold collector M. I. Tereshchenko. The artist did not ask for permission from Chaliapin himself, which upset him. There were rumors that the singer intended to even bring the artist to court. However, Chaliapin strongly refuted such assumptions: “To Korovin, my friendly relations are the same as before.
I, really, was sorry that my portrait, which was so successful, did not hit me. Remember, I’ve been posing so long and trying to make a “nice” face. I was really upset, but I did not think of any arbitration court. “The portrait of Chaliapin by Korovin, now in the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, is dated 1911. Consequently, Chaliapin is depicted at the age of 50. Usually this age is perceived as more than mature. It should be noted that when looking at the picture gives the impression that we see a person in front of him is still quite young.
Hardly the artist sought to “rejuvenate” Chaliapin – probably, he really looked young, it’s not such a rarity, especially among the people of art, the more successful in their work. Atmosphere of youth, a holiday of life create and elegant light clothes Shalyapin, and the summer foliage of leaves, flowers, fruits and wine on the table. The artist portrayed the singer on the veranda, the sunlight poured into the open window.
Chaliapin in a relaxed pose sits on a low chair sideways to the viewer. The face is depicted almost in profile, only slightly turned towards the viewer. The facial expression is calm and peaceful, it is the face of a person who is fully enjoying life, minutes of rest. The singer sits with his right foot on his left. The left arm is slightly bent at the elbow, the palm rests against the thigh. With his right hand, Chaliapin casually leaned his elbows on the table. Shalyapin’s figure is given close-up and occupies the main part of the canvas. The picture is dominated by light colors, creating a joyful, slightly lazy summer mood.
White suit Chaliapin clearly stands out against the background of sand-colored walls. The glare of light glides across the floor. The blue curtain is pulled back, as if giving the place a dark green foliage bursting through the window. Blue glows are played on a white tablecloth, which is covered with a table by the window. Blue is also present in Chaliapin’s costume-a blue neck scarf shading the white of the shirt and jacket.
The picture is written in broad, rapid strokes. The image is slightly blurred, which is characteristic of impressionism, which had a noticeable impact on the work of Korovin. Sometimes this artist is called an impressionist, but not all specialists agree with this definition. Whatever the case, Chaliapin’s portrait is one of the artist’s most worthy works.