Description of the painting by Orest Kiprensky “Portrait of Davydov”

Description of the painting by Orest Kiprensky “Portrait of Davydov”

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Orest Adamovich Kiprensky painted a portrait of Davydov in 1809, when the war with Napoleon had just begun. This picture is a reflection of the poetic cult of the brave and strong hero who was at that time dominant, ready to give his soul for his homeland. The portrait is associated with Denis Davydov because of his fame, although it follows from the signature that it is Ev.V. Davydov, less famous brother of the poet.

The work itself is a ceremonial portrait of a young and dashing hussar with the rank of colonel. He is drawn to his full height, his pose is careless and somewhat picturesque. His costume is a red life-hussar uniform, white leggings and low boots. The shako is removed from the head and lies to the left of the hussar, and the saber is used instead of a support.

The colors with which his costume was painted, the gloomy pre-thunderstorm landscape, against which the hussar stands, only enhance the impression of the character of the picture - this is a brave warrior, a man of duty and a romantic dreamer. The hussar's face is courageous and spiritualized. Unlike military portraits of other painters, Kiprensky does not focus on the character’s abusive disposition, but focuses on revealing his personality.

Regarding this portrait, art historians still break spears, who is actually depicted on it - the famous Denis Davydov or his cousin Evgraf, who was also one of the heroes of the 1812 war. Both versions have their own supporters. In favor of the first version is the fact that the sons of Denis Davydov called this work a portrait of his father and asked the Academy of Arts for permission to photograph it.

Some of the researchers express the opinion that the hussar depicted in the picture is a collective image of the Russian officer of those years, the hero of that turbulent time, which, in fact, was Denis Davydov.

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