“Poor Lisa”, Orest Adamovich Kiprensky – description of the painting

Description of the picture:

Poor Lisa – Orest Adamovich Kiprensky. 1827. Oil on canvas. 40 5 x 30 nine cm.

   The plot of the picture is inspired by the famous work of Karamzin with the same title. The sweet novel struck the Russian public with an unusual ending for the literature – the suicide of the heroine. The picture was painted 30 years after the release of the novel and has a different character – romantic, with a touch of grandiloquence and a certain manner.

   The canvas depicts a portrait of a young girl, almost a girl, in which it is difficult to guess the peasant woman. Everything is symbolic in the image – her vestments of the most delicate pearl white and pink color are intended to emphasize the innocence of the girl, and the flower in her hands is a sign of the first trusting and touching love, ruthlessly trampled by the wrong hahal. By the way, in the novel, Lisa collected and sold lilies of the valley, and on the canvas she holds an ordinary marigold or tagetes (in some descriptions this southern flower, recognizable as a black brow, is described as a carnation).

   A warm color palette, painstakingly prescribed details, small folds of the heroine’s shirt, her expressive face, a little touched by a blush, head position – all these are romantic techniques designed to highlight the girl’s naive freshness. But the era of Karamzin irretrievably passed, because the painting depicts not the catastrophic moment of Lisa’s suicide, but her portrait as a sign of an innocently ruined young life. The ideal mastery of the artist will forever retain in our memory the image of poor Lisa."