Description of the painting by Karl Bryullov “Portrait of Princess Saltykova”

Description of the painting by Karl Bryullov Portrait of Princess Saltykova

In writing portraits Bryullov always guided by his subtle ability to guess and capture the human nature. Despite the pompous decoration of the estate of the Princess, the picture is notable for the highest degree of sincerity and lyricism.

We notice the gentle features of a noble lady: a noble high forehead, translucent glowing skin, slightly weary and thoughtful look of penetrating gray eyes. Masterfully, the artist managed to convey soft, flowing fabrics. It seems that we are about to hear the cool rustle of a silk dress, its smooth folds are so precisely written.

Bryullov loved and was able to add red color to the palette. The velvet back of the chair and the scarlet cape, beautifully encircling the princess’s slender camp, create a lively contrast with the cool silver and blue tones of the luxurious toilet. This bright accent adds idleness, which is always a necessary attribute of a ceremonial portrait.

In the hand, decorated with family rings, rests a graceful peacock feathers. Under the beauty’s legs is the exotic skin of a wild cat. In the background we see languid twilight, creating a harmonious background of the canvas.

The artist’s ability to carry the image of meek femininity, softness and poetry through the richly decorated interior and dazzling palette is amazing. There is no secular stiffness and pride, only sensuality, elegy and impeccable composition. The princess is a stronghold of virtue and mild insight, as a true feminine force.

The work traces many features of the romantic style – the elevation of morality and the best motives of human nature, expressive play of chiaroscuro, emphasis on aesthetics, the desire to turn the portrait into a real mirror of the soul of his lyrical hero.

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