Portrait of Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna with her daughter Maria by Karl Pavlovich Bryullov is a skillfully executed commission from a young painter
Portrait of Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna with her daughter Maria is a painting by the brilliant Karl Pavlovich Briullov, accurately conveying the social status of the characters and belonging to the era. Against the background of a bright red drapery, shading the skin of the depicted figures, the princess with her young daughter appears before the audience. The woman and girl are full of dignity. They move down the wide steps into the garden. The straight posture, proudly raised head, and impartial gaze of Elena Pavlovna are contrasted with the appearance of Mary. This lively child, looking at something wonderful on the side, looks like an angel. The lady calmly and persistently draws the girl along with her. The grace and nobility of the mother seems to be juxtaposed with the charming childish carelessness.
The master professionally conveys the dynamism of the plot with the help of the mother-of-pearl tints of the woman’s lush satin dress and the folds of the girl’s pale pink light outfit. The author uses bright rich shades of scarlet, dark blue, brown and delicate pastel colors. Such variety and sonority of color give the work a special entertainment and solemnity. The clarity and convexity of the figures is due to various tonal transitions and the competent use of light and shadow structures. Combinations of contrasting color spots convey to the viewer the romantically elevated mood of the heroines.
Brief description of the picture
Painting “Portrait of Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna with her daughter Maria”, 1830
Title of the painting: “Portrait of Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna with her daughter Maria.”
Author: Karl Pavlovich Bryullov (1799-1852).
Year of writing: 1830
Size: 265 x 185 cm.
Technique: Oil painting.
Location: State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.
Karl Pavlovich Bryullov – a brilliant Russian painter of the first half of the 19th century
He is the author of monumental genre and historical masterpieces, the only artist who was awarded a laurel wreath during his lifetime and received a diamond ring from Emperor Nicholas II as a reward for his work. In his works, the master harmoniously combined the creative heritage of the ancient period and the Renaissance with personal views on artistic processes.
Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna is one of the most insightful and active women of the 19th century. She was engaged in charity and social work for the benefit of Russia, patronized talented scientists, writers, people of art, and supported the abolition of serfdom and government reforms.
The princess ordered the painter a full-length ceremonial portrait and several copies of it. Initially, she wanted to choose the Roman Colosseum as the background, but the artist dissuaded her from this pompous idea. The genius persistently searched for an original compositional scheme of the work, imagining Elena Pavlovna either leaning on a balustrade, or sitting on a bench, or walking with Maria along the path of the park. And finally, a solution was found.
The image presented in the picture carries within itself a certain poetic ideal, an organic unity of the spiritual qualities and appearance of the heroines. Multiple changes of interior details, costume elements and multiple sketches made in the master’s work albums demonstrated the tenacity with which the young painter worked.
The painting “Portrait of Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna with her daughter Maria” by Karl Bryullov is a monumental creation that confirms the artist’s incomparable talent. He managed to reveal not only the rich decoration of the beauty, but also her deep spiritual world.