1806, St. Petersburg - 1858, St. Petersburg

Four Naked Boys

Study. 1840s or 1850s

Alexander Ivanov’s paintings of naked boys set against a landscape were preliminary studies for Christ’s Appearance to the People. Detached from the foreground, the endless space of the background symbolizes “historical time” — eternal and immutable nature. As Mikhail Allenov has noted, only a child unaware of the battle of passions is capable of entering Alexander Ivanov’s landscapes without destroying their structure. The master was years ahead of his time in his resolution of plein-air tasks in these studies, although the relationship between man and the world was more typical of the preceding Romantic period.

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