oil on canvas
103 х 103
The picture can be classified as a manifesto of the artists association The World of Art. It loudly voices the theme of dramatic gap between the aesthetic ideal in the artist's soul and the reality.
In the image of the mysterious Lady, Somov portrayed Yelizaveta Mikhailovna Martynova (1868-1905), his classmate at the Academy of Arts. He "changes" her in a dress of the age of romanticism, but the miracle of transformation fails to take place. It is still the face of a sad sickly contemporary that we see before us.
The Lady in an antique, time-faded dress seems to be stranding two worlds: the real world and the phantom one. The heroine's indecisive gesture does nothing other than emphasize the sad irony of the artist, realising man's helplessness before time.
From the depth of the picture emerges a vision of another age. There, in the "mirror world", idyll is possible. The couple making music probably epitomizes the souls of the artist and his model, who are joined in dreams, but alien to each other in real life.
On the edge of the picture Somov places his self-portraited Doppelgänger, emphasizing the dramatic relationships between the artist and the image he has created.
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