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Karl Bryullov is an outstanding Russian portrait painter, famous for his special manner of writing. He always approached his work with the soul, did portraits not for customers, but for people to whom he had a special affection. Bryullov was a virtuoso kind, so he tried not to take official orders for high-ranking persons, because they fettered the artist in his emotional outbursts and endeavors.
In 1839, the artist accepted an order from Athanasius Shishmarev, a retired staff captain and successful horse breeder. Bryullov was to paint a portrait of two charming sisters of the Shishmaryovs, Alexander and Olga. For the author, this task was too simple, so he again violated the framework of the traditional portrait. He tried to reduce the order for the portrait to a genre sketch, which the young ladies really liked. On the canvas, the girls look very beautiful, warmth, joy and enthusiasm blows from them. Bryullov accurately conveyed the characters of the heroines, subtly hinting to the viewer that, although the sisters are similar, they are very different, it is noticeable in clothes, poses, facial expressions.
Alexander's older sister looks more mobile and lively. She quickly walks ahead, as if glancing briefly at the audience from a portrait. Her figure is successfully emphasized by the purple Amazon, which gives a good taste of the heroine. A veil of a calm lilac shade of beauty harmonizes with Alexandra's dark hair.
Successfully contrasts with her her younger sister Olga. Although the girls have very similar figures, with a thin waist and faces with bright facial features, we see how different they are all the same - Alexandra and Olga. Olga looks much more restrained by her resolute sister, she seems so shy and calm, but strong in nature. These conclusions are self-evident when you pay attention to the whip that the girl clutched in her palm while descending the stairs.
Of no less interest is the color scheme of the picture: the dense left side echoes the light right side. This decision allowed the artist to successfully emphasize the movement of figures on the canvas. A harmonious compositional solution was found by the artist in pencil sketches. Bryullov specifically used a staircase in the picture to emphasize the motif of the main characters. Girls are not an easy part of the portrait, they are in a hurry for a horse ride, and the master was there then to capture the moment.
Karl Bryullov Death of Inessa De Castro