The painting depicts a Russian virtuosic ballerina Ida Rubinstein. Even before the famous Isadora Duncan, she contributed elements of eroticism to the ballet when she danced “Salome” and so on. “Dance 7 covers” threw off her clothes and remained naked. After that, the production was banned. The ballerina joined the company of S. Diaghilev, took part in the famous “Russian Seasons” in Paris. There she became famous for the performance of the party of Scheherazade in the ballet of the same name by Rimsky-Korsakov. In 1909, she finally emigrated from Russia to France. She agreed to pose Serov naked, the only one of all secular ladies.
The artist himself spoke of her with admiration: “To see her is a stage in life, for this woman gives us a special opportunity to judge what a person’s face is all about.” The whole appearance and character of the art of the model with a subtle sense is embodied in the portrait.
The Painting is divided horizontally into 2 parts: on top – a faded background, from below – a violet-blue veil. The body of the dancer is of the same color as the background, it is lost on it. This somehow brightens the blatant violation of the traditional academic canons: a woman has unnaturally straight lines of legs, arms, back. But at the same time, by their subtlety, they give nature an attractiveness, grace and charm. From a magnificent hairdress, similar to a halo, the viewer’s view passes to a sharp brushstroke, marking the back and shoulder blades.
The fineness of the ankles and wrists is emphasized by a green scarf, which gives the portrait a certain completeness and is perceived by the viewer as a frame. A simple uncomplicated background emphasizes the charm of the figure and creates an additional accent on the jewels adorning the fingers of her hands and feet. An unusual turn of the head and the complexity of the pose remind of the Madonna on the canvases of the masters of the High Renaissance.
Starting his creative career as a moving artist, Serov eventually turned to the expression of modernist tendencies. It is this picture that is recognized as one of the outstanding examples of Russian Art Nouveau.