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Self-portrait. 1811
32.2 х 26.9 Oil on canvas Main Building, Hall 14

The first version of this self-portrait was hung in the State Russian Museum (1811). The self-portrait genre, was not very popular in the I8th century, but became more widespread in the I9th century. Self portraits by many of Venetsianov’s contemporaries are now well know – O.A. Kiprensky, A.G.Varnek, K.P. Bryullov, and A.O.Orlovsky amongst others. The artists tended to portray themselves in a poetical, "sublime" manner but this self-portrait by Venetsianov is more austere and “grounded” and is a far more realistic portrayal. The artist in no way embellishes himself; in fact if anything he looks much older than his thirty years. His palette and brush - the usual attributes of self-portraits - are not represented here as symbols of "genius" or a "darling of the gods", but simply as signs of his professional vocation which in those days was largely considered simply a job which happened to be a craft. The discreet olive gamma reflects the restrained character of the image. Venetsianov was given the title of ‘appointed artist’ for this portrait, which, in effect gave him the right to produce works as an academician. At the rime this was a rarity as the art of self-portraiture was not, at the time held in very high regard in the Academy of Arts

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