Portrait of Mikhail Larionov and his Platoon Commander
Mikhail Larionov served in the Russian Army in the spring of 1911. This period in his life is reflected in both his own oeuvre and the works of Natalia Goncharova. Portrait of Mikhail Larionov and his Platoon Commander has a common ring with Larionov’s own soldier series and conveys many of the features of Natalia Goncharova’s creative technique – her aspiration towards monumentality and expression and sharp painterly perception, underlined by the contrast between the coarse male figures and the tender blossom of the branch. The painting also reflects the artist’s interest in ancient cultures, such as Ancient Egyptian plastic art, as witnessed by the static heaviness of the two profiled figures and the original frieze of pyramidal buildings in the background.