Illarion Pryanishnikov. Painting Cruel Romances, 1881

Painting “Cruel Romances” by Illarion Pryanishnikov

Illarion Pryanishnikov. Painting Cruel Romances, 1881
Illarion Pryanishnikov. Painting Cruel Romances, 1881

“Cruel Romances” is a famous painting painted by Illarion Mikhailovich Pryanishnikov in 1881. In the center of the plot is a young man from the bourgeois class, dressed in a brand new frock coat and trousers with stripes in the latest fashion. He sings songs loudly and accompanies himself on the guitar, trying to charm the girl sitting next to him on the couch. And for greater persuasiveness, he moves closer to her, as if accidentally touches her knees.

The girl is clearly embarrassed and confused by such pressure. Lowering her head and looking down, she turns away from her admirer. Carefully written details of the work smoothly immerse the viewer in the plot, allow you to hear the fake notes in the singing of a smug dandy and laugh with the author, who managed to fully demonstrate the satirical mood.

Title of the painting: “Cruel Romances”.
Author: Illarion Pryanishnikov (1840-1894).
Year of writing: 1881
Dimensions: 39.8 x 31 cm.
Style: Realism. Romanticism.
Genre: Household scene. Group portrait.
Technique: Oil painting.
Material: Canvas. Location: State Tretyakov gallery, Moscow

About the artist

Illarion Pryanishnikov is one of the most talented genre painters of the second half of the 19th century, who managed to open a new realistic vision in Russian art. His work is characterized by the reliability of details with a general critical orientation of the content, the desire for a more truthful and complete reflection of life.

In his works, the artist demonstrates amazing observation, lively and accurate socio-psychological images, bright colors. The painting “Cruel Romances” is written in a manner typical for the master. Its plot may seem unimportant. But focusing on the transmission of the everyday characteristics of the appearance of the heroes, their subtlest experiences, Pryanishnikov created a real story, a picturesque story about the manners and customs in the bourgeois environment of that time.

Painting “Cruel Romances” by Illarion Pryanishnikov – a mockery of the philistine customs

All components of the picture appear in close unity. The author builds the composition on the psychological contrast of images. Playing on the details and correctly placing accents, he conveys the characters’ traits with well-aimed strokes. A large bow, carefully tied around the neck, and curly curls show the importance the young man attaches to his appearance. The demeanor speaks of his character and upbringing. The girl’s shyness is conveyed in the tilt of the head, the crumpled scarf and the unconscious movement of the fingers.

The mastery of the author also manifests itself in a rich color without elements of smoothness. The artist writes with a rich, free brushstroke, easily creates forms. His heroes live in the work, absorbed in their studies, thoughts, feelings.

The painting “Cruel Romances” by Illarion Pryanishnikov, distinguished by its amazing integrity and thoughtfulness of details, was warmly received by the public. The images of the heroes turned out to be so expressive and typical that contemporaries perceived them as real characters from life. Today the work is recognized as one of the best in the work of the master and occupies a worthy place in the world of fine arts.