Zinaida Serebryakova was born in the village of Neskuchny of the Kharkov province in a family of famous architects and artists Lensere-Benoit. The girl inherited a bright creative talent of the family and after graduating from the gymnasium, she goes on an internship to Italy, studying painting at the Academy in Paris.
In 1905, Zinaida marries Boris Serebryakova, in a happy marriage with which she gave birth to four children. The family lives in Petersburg, in the summer it is chosen on the family estate in Neskuchny. Harmony, warmth, love, respectful and caring attitude to each other reign in the Serebryakovs’ house.
In these happy years, Zinaida works hard and hard. Her development as a person and artist, influenced by the general mood in a creative environment to search for the ideals of humanism, great and heroic images, resulted in dozens of wonderful paintings filled with kindness and joy, colorful landscapes, bright images of simple peasant women and children.
One of her most famous works is the self-portrait “Behind the Toilet”, where the artist depicted herself in front of a mirror, smiling carelessly and combing her hair. At the same time, she writes many compositions and portraits of her children. Two older sons, Evgeny and Alexander, and younger girls Tata and Katya, with cute faces, with endless love and tenderness, performed by a talented mother, illuminate the most ordinary scenes of everyday life – tea time on the terrace, cooking dinner, waiting for breakfast, playing the piano. Everything in these pictures breathes with happiness and hospitality of a big friendly house, and no one yet knows how tragic their fate will be.
The revolution found Serebryakov in Kharkov. In 1919, Zinaida’s husband suddenly dies, having become infected with typhus, and she is left with children and an old mother without money or work. In search of a way out, the Serebryakovs leave for Petrograd, then Zinaida goes to Paris to organize the exhibition. However, soon Soviet Russia lowered the iron curtain, and returning home for the artist becomes impossible. Relatives and friends with great difficulty manage to ship two of four children to Paris – Sasha and Katia, other children – Yevgeny and Tatiana Zinaida will see only after 36 years.
The portrait of Zhenya, the eldest son, Zinaida Serebryakova, writes in 1917. As if anticipating a quick separation, the artist portrayed the boy in uncharacteristic for her restrained, even dark tones, without focusing on the details of the interior and furnishings. The boy is depicted in profile and does not look at the viewer. His hands are not occupied with anything, he looks thoughtfully and indifferently at the book open before him. In addition to the simple white bed in the background, there is nothing more in the picture.
Times do not choose…