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Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoy began his career as a clerk in the Duma. From the age of sixteen he became interested in retouching photographs and perfecting them with watercolors and mascara. Therefore, his next job was the service of the photographer Danilevsky in Kharkov. He later went to Petersburg, where he continued to make a living by retouching. And only at the age of twenty he finally entered the Art College. His love of drawing human faces was his main passion as an artist. Over his life, Ivan Nikolaevich created many portraits of eminent contemporaries.
The fate of the Russian writer and diplomat Alexander Sergeyevich Griboedov was incredibly complex and tragic. He was born in a noble wealthy family, received a good education, entered the diplomatic service. At thirty-four years old, as the ambassador of the Russian Empire in Iran, he was killed during the massacre at the Russian embassy in Tehran. A hundred thousand furious crowd tore apart everyone who was in the building, including Griboedov. Alexander Sergeyevich lived a short life, and his lifetime portraits were almost gone. There is a drawing made in colored pencil by the artist M. I. Terebenev. There was still a portrait of Griboedov by P. A. Karatygin — but, firstly, he was painted from memory — and secondly, he was not preserved, only lithography from him remained. Also during the life of Alexander Sergeyevich, his namesake twice painted A.S. Pushkin, but these are just pen sketches. Other portraits of the diplomat were made after his death.
In 1872, Kramskoy received an order from Tretyakov to draw Griboedov for his art gallery. Ivan Nikolaevich approached the issue seriously. He collected and studied all the available lithographs, comparing them with each other. As a result, he settled on lithography from the drawing of Karatygin, as on a collective image. Moreover, it was this work that was published in the Collected Works of Griboedov. Also, Ivan Nikolaevich met with Karatygin personally and asked him to describe Griboedov verbally. With the help of all these means, he managed to write a portrait on which Alexander Sergeyevich really looked like himself. Kramskoy’s still unfinished canvas showed many who knew his model during his lifetime, and made adjustments. All viewers unanimously stated that the artist wrote his work with almost photographic accuracy, marveling at the similarity of the features of the portrait with the original.
Griboedov in the portrait of Kramskoy appears before the viewer as a serious, highly intelligent man with the right features. Brown eyes hidden behind thin glasses, looking thoughtfully and calmly into the distance. Wide eyebrows, a straight nose and thin lips, light unshaven - the artist managed to create a collective image, which today is considered the most accurate and realistic portrait of Griboedov. The writer is dressed in a dark frock coat and white shirt, a dandy shawl tied around his neck. The burgundy chair in which Alexander Sergeyevich sits and the noble shade of wallpaper complete the image.
Picture Morning In Pine Forest Description