Museums and Art

“Fortune teller with a candle”, Kiprensky - description of the painting

“Fortune teller with a candle”, Kiprensky - description of the painting


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Fortuneteller with a candle - Orest Adamovich Kiprensky. 64 x 51 cm

The painting “Fortune Teller with a Candle” refers to the mature, already fully formed creative period of the recognized portrait painter Orest Adamovich Kiprensky. This period is closely connected with the last years of the artist's life. Kiprensky spent the last eight years in Italy, returning to these sunny, fertile lands, after many years in Russia and long trials.

A portrait was painted in Naples and is considered a kind of sketch, a search for an image for the artistic canvas "Tiburtinskaya Sibyl." The artist himself described his work as a search for the right colors and an attempt to study lighting under fire. In letters, Kiprensky called the picture "The Spellbinder by the Candle," then the "Young Gypsy by Candlelight Guessing on the Cards."

The sketch was successful. A little later, in the “Sibyl Tiburtina,” the master repeated the character, the play of light, and the pose of the heroine, however, the portrait of a young gypsy remained more famous for the wide audience.

With an accurate and skillful brush, the artist depicted a young gypsy who was guessing on cards with a candle. The girl is sitting at the table, leaning on her hand. In front of her is a long candle on an impromptu pedestal of a vase and a book, under which a deck of cards is carelessly thrown. Through the gloom, thanks to the incorrect light of the tongue of flame, the dark, clean face of the fortuneteller stands out, on which huge, dark eyes shine brightly and vividly. The whole gamut of feelings is reflected on her face, tormenting the restless heart and thoughts of the gypsy. The beauty is tormented by questions to which she is trying to find answers, peering into the game of flame. Kiprensky whimsically and incredibly subtly described the inner world of a passionate, young gypsy, peering into the unknown future.

The portrait was purchased by Count Dmitry Nikolayevich Sheremetev. At the moment, the “Fortune Teller with a Candle” is on display at the Russian State Museum of St. Petersburg.


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