Orest Kiprensky – one of the best portraitists in Russia in the early 19 th century. He was famous for his ability to reflect in his paintings the inner peace of man. His work, in which he showed outstanding people of his era, fully reveals their characters.
That very famous portrait of Pushkin, decorating virtually all the editions of the poet, was ordered by another Anton Delvig. Pushkin himself, with his restless nature, could not remain without movement for a long time, but he could not leave the request of the Lyceum friend without attention. The painting was written in 1828, when Pushkin was in the prime of his life and talent. All contemporaries were categorized, the similarity turned out to be real. Pushkin is dressed in a frock coat and holds a cloak over his shoulder,
The artist chose a foreshortening where the spiritualized and inspired swarthy head of the poet in the halo of diffused light is very clearly visible. One can imagine how, at this moment, the poet is contemplating the next plan of his work, and quite unhappy and unsettling. The look is alert and deep, slightly scattered, lips tightly compressed. The elegant well-groomed hands of the poet are stacked on his chest, as if he knows what will end his life, and he takes it all with wise calmness.
Many people can see the famous portrait hundreds of times, but never notice that the upper right corner of the picture is occupied by a bronze muse. She has a lyre in her hands, embodying Pushkin’s eternal inspiration, for it is not without reason that she is so often mentioned in the poet’s works.
Pushkin himself highly appreciated the work of Kiprensky, although he believed that his appearance was embellished. “I see myself in a mirror, But this mirror flatter me,” he wrote in the poem. However, the main advantage of the artist is that he was able to convey the individuality and character of the poet through a portrait and left to his descendants the memory of the greatest genius of Russian literature.