Description of the picture:
Music lesson – Leonid Osipovich Pasternak. 1909. Pastel on paper.
The gentle color scheme and the specific texture of the pastel gave this modest genre picture a special charm and airiness. The soft incompleteness, the shading of clear contours, the bluish white color of the woman’s dress touches the liveliness and lightness of the image.
An unpretentious life story sets this picture apart from paintings on historical and biblical themes, of which there were so many in all periods of history. Genre paintings that reflect simple everyday life will not bring fame and popularity to the artist, but they will be able to reveal to us his soul and perception of reality.
The canvas depicts a woman in a white summer long dress, with a lush hair characteristic of that time, playing music with two young children. Three main color spots are distinguished in the picture – a massive black piano, a white women’s dress and a bright reddish tree of a figured chair, which echoes the frame of the picture on the wall and warm golden highlights on the plank floor. Soft contours and restrained colors fill the picture with air and light, devoid of clear boundaries and deep dark shadows.
A woman sits towards us in a half-turn, we do not see her faces, and the faces of the babies are blurred, depicted schematically, and they themselves are hardly noticeable at the piano and notes standing on the music stand. This gives the image anonymity and a certain abstractness, giving us the opportunity to conjecture, to imagine how these people might look.
The painting, with all its external simplicity, is a serious job, because pastel is a rather complicated material, this technique requires talent and a special flair. The master possessed all this in abundance – the picture looks vibrant, dynamic, and it seems that the woman is about to turn around, and we will see her face, and the uncertain, quiet but beautiful music will sound from the canvas."