Kramskoi Ivan Nikolayevich

He was, in the main, a portrait painter, attaining in this genre not only unmistakable likeness, but also striking revelations of the spiritual and intellectual world of his models, as for example in the portraits of the writers Leo Tolstoy, N.Nekrasov, M.Saltykof-Shchedrin, the sculptor M.Antokolsky and others.Kramskoj Portrait of L. N. TolstoyPortrait of L. N. Tolstoy” (1873) is one of the best examples of realistic and psychological portraits. The portrait does not dazzle one by its colours, which are reserved and few or by a striking pose, as Tolstoy, wearing a plain shirt, is seated with his legs crossed and his hands folded on his knee in a very natural and simple attitude. At the same time the portrait is striking by the depth of its inner characterization.

The writer sits facing straight ahead, and his expres­sion is one nearing sternness in its concentration. The artist has caught Tolstoy’s intent and piercing gaze with great mastery.

Kramskoy The StrangerThe Stranger” (1883) is another of the artist’s outstanding works. It is not a portrait of an individual woman, whose name has been forgotten or concealed by the painter, but, rather, a generalization.

Her face is beautiful, as are her eyes, shaded by heavy, dark lashes, her velvet coat, trimmed with fluffy fur and her whole figure, sharply accentuated against the haze of the winter day in St.Petersburg, are done with great mastery.


to attain  — достигать

genre  — жанр

striking revelations of the spiritual and intellec­tual world of his models — поразительное рас­крытие духовного и интеллектуального мира тех, кто ему позировал

the portrait does not dazzle one by its colours — портрет не поражает своими красками

his expression is one nearing sternness — выражение его лица почти суровое

intent and piercing — внимательный и проница­тельный, пристальный взгляд

“The Stranger” — “Незнакомка”

to conceal — скрывать

dark lashes — темные ресницы

to accentuate  — подчеркивать, выделять

haze — туман

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