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The painting was painted in 1825 and is currently in the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. Materials for the creation of the work were oil and cardboard.
The picture shows a simple village boy, a peasant. This is not an invented image; the portrait was painted from a real child, whose father was the peasant Fedul Stepanov.
This is not the first time that the image of a simple village child appears in Venetsianov’s work, the artist had a great interest in personalities leading a simple, working life. And, it must be said, such "peasant" portraits succeeded by Alexey Gavrilovich simply superbly.
The artist attached great importance to life to work, he believed that it was in him that the beginning of all beginnings lay, that the world rested on simple workers. Despite the boy’s age from the picture, we see that he already has some experience transforming the features of his face from childishly soft and naive to male, harsh.
Frowning eyebrows and tightly compressed lips, a focused look, a turn of the head create a sense of determination, confidence, strength. The boy understands that his life will depend only on himself and grips the instrument shaft on his shoulder tightly. Everything in the guise of a boy suggests that he is ready to work, and, unfortunately, he probably did not have a childhood, since he worked from an early age.
An attentive viewer will notice that the winter hat is a little too big for the boy, as, indeed, are mittens. This may indicate that clothing in a poor family is passed on from generation to generation.
Venetsianov does not attach importance to the surroundings, leaves the background unprocessed, which makes us peer into the face and look closely at the image of the boy. How accurately caught emotion, how masterfully captured the moment! Such people in life have not been considered, no one has peered into the faces of ordinary peasants. And Venetsianov peered, and now we are doing it with him.
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