In 1825, the Russian public enthusiastically greeted the first painting by Bryullov finished in Italy Italian Morning (1823, Kunsthalle, Kiel, Germany). The Society for the Encouragement of Artists presented it to Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, her spouse Nicholas I expressed a desire to have its companion. It was then that Bryullov conceived Italian Midday. Both paintings make up a series (such series were much loved by the era of romanticism) – morning, youth, the dawn of life and noon, maturity, vigorousness. Here, for the first time, appears the artist’s favorite type of slightly simple southern female beauty. It is no coincidence that the Society for the Encouragement of Artists reacted rather coldly to the painting, to what the artist objected: “I decided to look for <...> diversity in those forms of simple life which we encounter more often and frequently like even more than the strict beauty of statues”. The version located in the Tretyakov Gallery is more modest, conditional, the depicted girl resembles not so much a real peasant woman as an ancient maenad, companion of Bacchus, the god of winemaking.
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