Description of the picture:
Newspaper readers in Naples – Orest Adamovich Kiprensky. 1831. Oil on canvas. 64.5 x 78.3 cm
Among the paintings of Orest Kiprensky, there is one that has not only a fairly fascinating background, but has also become fundamental in a new genre direction. The canvas “Newspaper Readers in Naples” is practically the first known group portrait. The painting was painted about one thousand eight hundred and thirty-one years, during the second Italian period, characterized by maturity, completeness of form and honed skill of the famous portrait painter.
The picture “Newspapers readers in Naples” depicts four young men, three of whom intently heed their own friend, who reads the latest newspaper aloud. Of course, the actions described in the article are indescribably alarming. The faces of the listeners express concern, excitement and extreme intrigue.
Despite the fact that the creator in one of the letters described the canvas as a political reading about Poland by Russian travelers, there is a worldview that the painting depicts well-known Polish figures – Adam Mickiewicz, Count Potocki, poets Zygmunt Krasinsky and Anthony Odynets. Researchers believe a similar cunning is associated with the artist’s reluctance to once again recall the sensational Polish uprising that happened in one thousand eight hundred and thirty years.
In the group portrait of Kiprensky, you can see a huge number of covered characters. For example, a man engaged in reading in his arms can see a small decorative dog sitting completely next to a newspaper page. Thus, the master unobtrusively focuses on the newspaper, making it possible for the viewer to realize how important the information written on paper is. Also a more striking example of symbolism is the image of Vesuvius in the background of the picture. The sleeping volcano seen behind the backs of the audience means the revolutionary forces dormant, boiling in the bowels of the people’s anger. This hint with jewelry accuracy expresses the attitude of the master, his unspoken encouragement and support for public moods."