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Kiprensky, Orest Adamovich
Portrait of Alexander Chelishchev

1808- beginning 1809
Oil on wood
48 x 38 (oval in a rectangle)

Alexander Chelishchev (1797-1881) participated in the Patriotic War of 1812 and the foreign campaigns of the Russian Army (1813-1814.) He was a member of the Union for Prosperity and the Northern Society but did not take part in the Decembrist uprising. He retired in 1827. The Romantic Era had a particular style when it came to painting children. The 18th century artist usually portrayed a child as a small adult, often in a particular role. The Romantic-artist sees in the child a unique world, profound and pure and untouched by vices of the world. Chelishchev is portrayed here as being contemplative, alien to the trials of life. His bottomless eyes stare straight at us and into our souls. The effect of this dual gaze is a distinguishing feature of the romantic portrait. The silhouette of the boy seems to melt into the velvet space in the background. The harmonic coordination of colours in his clothes accentuates his facial pallor. It is as if he is lit from within, from the depths of his soul

at 10, Lavrushinsky Lane, Hall 8