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The canvas is considered one of the earliest and best works of the artist. The canvas depicts the stepfather of the master - he has seen a lot in his lifetime, a gloomy, confident old man, impressively captured, convex, as in the paintings of Rembrandt. Slightly shaggy hair, vigorous transitions of chiaroscuro and capacious intense strokes emphasize the original character of the character. The mastery of execution gave critics the basis to claim that it was the work of one of the old masters, they even attributed authorship to Rubens or Van Dyck.
This portrait was so dear to the artist that he didn’t part with him and carried with him everywhere.
The secret of the picture is that it is difficult to guess what social layer the character belongs to. This character does not correspond with any time and society. The author is completely imbued with the dramatic emotions captured by the sitter. A laid-back, rich painting, emphasized by the combination of intense brown and ocher-golden color, as well as the way of highlighting, indicate the artist's analysis of the works of the Flemish masters.
The tough, unyielding elderly man is depicted full-face - looking directly at the viewer. His powerful shoulders are covered with a fur coat. The portrait cuts the image of a man to the chest, leaving a weighty impressive hand in the canvas field holding a massive cane with a metal knob cleaned to a shine. Warm golden light accentuates attention on the face, underlined below, on the neck, delicately tied with a snow-white scarf.
The piercing wise black eyes stand out on the face, their energetic, steady and inexorable eyes are fixed on the audience, as if looking into their souls. Gray hair in carelessly combed hair, clearly defined wide eyebrows of a beautiful pattern, a manly clenched mouth - all this characterizes an active, fearless nature. However, if you take a closer look, you can catch traces of care, tension and sadness in these wide-open eyes. Senile sagging skin on the neck, not hidden by a nifty handkerchief, groomed appearance of hairstyle emphasize the insecurity of a person who has lived a difficult life.
The portrait amazes with its artlessness, spontaneity and at the same time, the artist’s love and respect for the hero, the ability to emphasize the originality of the person, highlighting the importance of the inner world.
Ivanov The Appearance of Christ to the People