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Painting “To the Family”, Leonid Osipovich Pasternak – description

Description of the picture:

To relatives – Leonid Osipovich Pasternak. 1891. Oil on canvas. 143 x 116 cm
The canvas depicts a compartment of a train in which two young women belonging to different social classes ride. From the name it’s clear that they are going to their relatives, but only occasions, obviously, are diametrically opposite.

Closer to the viewer sits a young girl from a middle-income family. This conclusion can be made by the fact that she is traveling in the same carriage as a peasant, which means she cannot afford a separate compartment. She is dressed in a fully enclosed black robe without a hint of jewelry or decoration. This fact, as well as a small hat with a thick black veil, clearly indicates that the girl is in mourning and is most likely going to the funeral or to the funeral of someone close to her. Her thin and soulful face says suffering. She sits, leaning back and slightly bending her head to the side, holding a white handkerchief in her hands – the only smear of light in her appearance.

In contrast, the young peasant woman sitting next to her in a beautiful national dress is clearly prosperous and pleased with her life. In her arms is a baby, wrapped in white diapers, with a beautiful bonnet on her head. The peasant woman herself is dressed in an elegant red sundress with a very magnificent long skirt, a white shirt with a large neckline and voluminous sleeves. On her head is a small blue kokoshnik decorated with bead embroidery. The neck of the young woman is decorated with large blue and blue beads in two rows.

The peasant woman is a striking color and emotional contrast next to the sad girl drawn in all black. She looks out of the train window with interest, but her expression is slightly alarmed and tense. Obviously, she does not know what awaits her visiting relatives.

The artist masterfully managed to tell two life stories at once, depicting only two women in a compartment. The picture was very expressive and deeply philosophical."

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