Poor Liza. 1827
45 х 39 Oil on canvas

The painting was inspired by N. M. Karamzin’s novella Poor Liza (1792), which the public had embraced with enthusiasm. The novella is based on a theme that was extremely popular in sentimental literature: a touching and tragic story of a young, pure peasant girl seduced by a young nobleman. The quote from Karamzin “peasant women too can love” became the motto of the entire generation of enlightened noble youth. The story was perceived as real. The surroundings of the Moscow Simonov Monastery and the place of the heroine’s death, “Liza’s Pond”, had been a place of pilgrimage for the educated public for a long time. In a way, Kiprensky returns to the imagery of sentimentalist era. The artistic language is simple, and yet symbolically rich. The combination of pink and white in the heroine’s clothes means the purity and freshness of her youth, the carnation in her hand – her tender sincere love. However, Kiprensky, being a man of another generation, could not fully feel the naive reverential sentiments of the epoch gone by, and his painting acquires a coldish classicistic sheen.

Additional info
Portrait, Domestic scene
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