Paintings

Description of the painting by Konstantin Somov “Harlequin and death”


The son of an art historian and curator of the Hermitage collections, he absorbed all the subtleties of writing from childhood and formed his own individual style. In his youth, he lived in Russia, and later moved to France.

In many of his works, the artist turns to Watteau painting, which reflected the traditions of the "gallant style." He writes scenes from everyday life, such as dating in park areas, holding celebrations, kisses in secluded places, such as arbors and malls.

However, all his characters are specific. They are dressed in dresses with bows, luxurious camisoles, and on their heads they wear powdered wigs. They are no longer for people, but, most likely, puppets who play an eternal funny performance on various topics, including historical ones.

Having borrowed from the Italian comedy the effects in the actions of an unexpected intrusion and covert peeping, Somov points out to the viewer their sad sarcastic motive, rather than the comic meaning.

All his works involuntarily take the viewer into the world of memories, sleep and idyll, which is no longer there. Undoubtedly, the artist yearns for her and realizes that it is impossible to restore the lost harmony.

According to him, all people are puppets and ghosts who are constantly having fun. They are doomed to a celebration of a lifetime. They are empty inside and do not know how to do anything, how to have fun. Under the clothes and masks are hidden witching essence and death.

Inspired thoughts haunt him, and he embodies them on a strange canvas called "Harlequin and Death." Here in the center of the picture is a smiling, mocking skeleton, and his double is Harlequin. Behind the lovers are figures symbolizing love, comedy and tragedy.

The picture demonstrates the flourishing of life and the euphoria of love, however, it comes to an end with the advent of death, which became the master of life, feelings, passion and gallantry.





Fedor Vasilyev Thaw


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