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Woman Reading. Portrait of Sofia Kramskaya, the Artist's Wife. Not before 1866
64.5 х 56 Oil on canvas Tretyakov Gallery, Hall 20

For Kramskoi, the end of classes at the Academy of Arts in 1863 coincided with an important event in the artist’s life – his marriage. “I am neither smitten nor in love, I just love simply and ordinarily, humanly, with all the forces of my soul and I only feel capable if not of feats, then at least of serious work”, wrote the painter. The distinctness of the portrait of his wife, Sofia Nikolaevna Prokhorova (1840–1919), stems from the fact that the early art of Kramskoi was strongly influenced by Karl Pavlovich Bryullov. The portrait shows a desire, so characteristic of late Romanticism, to place the heroine in an unusual environment, alien from everyday life. That is why among the trees of the park there is a marble socle twined with ivy. The main idea of the portrait is a poetic perception of the beauty of the world around and man in it.

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