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The portrait of Akimova was painted by Valentin Serov in 1908. She is in the National Gallery of Armenia.
The picture shows a woman with a pale face and features of the Armenian type Maria Nikolaevna Akimova (Akimyan). She had a very difficult fate: when she got married, she was widowed almost immediately - her husband, an avid gambler and motot, threw himself into the water at night and drowned. Maria Nikolaevna remained in the clawed paws of creditors. And only the second time she got married, she found her happiness, as it turned out, was short-lived.
In 1908, when Akimova posed for Serova, it was just that period of happiness when all her misadventures were already behind, but, unfortunately, Maria Nikolaevna had very little to live on - experiences led to illnesses, and those little ones broke her. Soon she died.
Serov fully felt the difficult fate of his model. Picturesqueness, contrast - talk about the fanatical enthusiasm with which the artist worked on the portrait. Showing the public a picture at an exhibition in the Union of Artists, Serov impressed many of his contemporaries. All noted individuality, perfectly traced facial features that reflect the tiredness of the soul, a certain exhaustion.
Many art historians agree that the portrait of Akimova was painted at the intersection of two genres - this is no longer realism in the generally accepted sense, but also not impressionism with its flicker and contrasts. Serov really went beyond the boundaries of styles - and therefore wrote a masterpiece. He was followed by portraits of Martiros Saryan, Ida Rubinstein and many others. A new time came in art, the twentieth century, so rich in the currents of painting, was gaining momentum.
Jacques Louis David Pictures