Valentin Serov was able to look into a person himself, to see his deep essence, and that’s why Serov portraits are unique and put him among the most famous artists.

  “I’m terribly interested in something that is deeply hidden in a man.”

V. Serov

Here are the stories of the most famous paintings by the Artist.

1. The Most Well-Known Painting of Young Serov – “Girl with Peaches” (1887)

Serov was visiting at the famous art-estate near Moscow “Abramtzevo” by Mamontovs (well-known art patrons). 11-year-old Vera Mamontov one summer after playing outdoors ran into the house and grabbed a peach. Serov was inspired by the scene of freshness and began painting a portrait of a girl. The girl turned out to be a patient model and for more than a month every day posed for Serov.

Valentin Serov Girl with Peaches

The peaches in the painting are real, grown in the greenhouse of the “Abramtzevo” estate.

The copy of the painting now also hangs on the wall in the “Abramtzevo” estate.

Vera Mamontov was the inspiration of many Russian artists who visited the “Abramtzevo”estate. But her fate was tragic. She died of pneumonia at a very young age – 32, and left behind three children.

2. No Less Famous Painting by Serov – “Girl in the Sunlight” (1888)

The painting depicts a cousin of Serov – Maria Simonovich. She later wrote that she and Serov were both passionate about working together on the painting: “He was looking for new ways to transfer to the canvas infinitely varied play of light and shade while retaining the freshness of colors. Yes, I sat there for three months, and almost without a break. ”

Valentin Serov Girl in the Sunlight

Interestingly, the son of Maria Simonovich, André Lvov, in 1965 received the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine.

3. Vivacity of Childhood in the Portrait “Mika Morozov” (1901)

One day Serov went to Morozov, the famous millionaire and art collector. Suddenly Morozov’s son, Mika, ran into the room. His ingenuousness amazed the Artists. Serov began making his portrait. But how do you keep a fidget in his chair? So Serov started telling him Russian fairy tales: about Ilya Muromets, about Ruslan and Lyudmila. And Mika listened with his eyes wide-open and that is reflected in the painting by Serov.

Valentin Serov Mika Morozov

Then Mika also retold the tales back to Serov, which he heard from his nanny. And that’s how they continued working on the painting.

4.The Heartedness of Russian Soul in a Portrait of the Artist F. Chaliapin (1905)

Serov executed the portrait of the greatest Russian singer with a coal.

Valentin Serov and Feodor Chaliapinwere connected by a long-term friendship.

The daughter of the singer, Irina Chaliapin: “In this portrait, Serov depicted great immediacy and Russian heartedness of Chaliapin. Father willingly posed for Valentin Aleksandrovich, and in between, when they rested, my mother made them tea. ”

Valentin Serov Portrait of the Artist F. Chaliapin

In the portrait the character of Chaliapin is conveyed greatly: the power and inspiration, and the heartedness of the Russian soul. All that made Chaliapina great artist.

At the same time, on the portrait Chaliapin looks like a real dandy with a stubborn facial expression. Perhaps in this portrait there is a prophecy of Chaliapin destiny, who left Russia and has not been able to return.

5. Demon in the flesh in the portrait of M. Morozov (1902)

Serov could look deep into a person’s soul. Because of this, his portraits were sometimes considered caricatures. But it’s not true. Serov simply could see what a person was trying to hide.

A known collector (paintings by Vasnetsov, Vrubel, Levitan, Surikov, Serov, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Degas, Manet, Monet, Renoir and others would later belong to the Tretyakov Gallery). At the same time he ruthlessly exploited the workers, to suppress the unrests of which he invited military troops. He was easy with money. Maybe something, usually hidden from others, Serov could see?

Valentin Serov Portrait of M. Morozov

6. Self-Portrait (1880s)

A depiction of himself by Serov – this is an image of a man with a difficult temperament.

Valentin Serov Self-Portrait

7. Portrait of Henrietta Hirschmann (1907)

Henrietta Hirschmann was considered one of the most beautiful women who was admired by poets and writers, actors and singers of the time. At the same time Henrietta was absolutely not arrogant.

Serov, too, liked this beautiful, smart and yet modest woman.

Valentin Serov Portrait of Henrietta Hirschmann

Interestingly, Serov portrayed himself too on the portrait of Hirschmann – he is visible in the edge of the mirror – by that he as if made himself a part of the world of Henrietta.


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