1900, Varlamovo, Vologda Province — 1973, Leningrad

Woman Worker (Portrait in Blue)


  • Canvas, oil. 133,5 х 77
  • ЖБ-1325

  • Received in 1933 from the Artists of the RSFSR Over Fifteen Years exhibition (1932), Leningrad

Alexei Pakhomov’s Woman Worker (Portrait in Blue) occupied a central place at the Circle of Artists exhibition held at the Russian Museum in 1927. Although the artist’s model was his wife, a worker in a cigarette factory, the image is clearly more of a type than a concrete individual. Pakhomov utilises a number of devices to underline the monumentality and grandeur of the image. The woman with the light brown hair is depicted from the knees upwards. The proportions of her body are slightly magnified in comparison with real life, evoking the sensation that she is “cramped” within the canvas. The dynamic turn of the head and torso is halted by the solemn rhythms of the folds of her dress, remotely reminiscent of the garbs worn by the figures in early Renaissance frescoes. The artist later recalled: “Mental clarity, the purity of youth and its aspiration towards nobility and the sublime are exceedingly attractive. I unwittingly highlighted her wide-open gaze, harmonic and cheerful carriage, and readiness for action. I began to increasingly scrutinise and appraise the art of antiquity and the High Renaissance.”

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