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Oil on Canvas, 1893. State Museum Association "Artistic Culture of the Russian North".
Children's portrait is a special theme in art. Children were portrayed at different ages, surrounded by various surroundings. Portraits were created individual and group, by order or at the behest of the soul.
Two events, I think, prompted the writing of the artist’s canvas: the acquisition of a summer residence near Moscow, in the village of Khovrino, and the birth of a daughter. Is it possible to consider a coincidence the name of the picture with the name of her beloved daughter? Hardly. Tenderness, love for Varenka gradually spread to her environment - in the village the girl spent every summer, made many friends among local children.
The picture depicts a barefoot village girl. The fidget has a crafty look, a blush all over her cheek - she recently played with her peers and sat down to rest for a minute.
Lack of shoes is a common thing for peasant children in the summer: in the village, children's shoes were rare, were protected for a "special" case, or before the onset of cold weather. However, the girl’s feet look clean, she is obviously unusual for a long walk barefoot.
The blond hair of the baby is tucked under a scarf, she has a dress of simple cut, but on the neck there is a real “adult” jewelry - beads. In the hands of a mischievous girl holds a doll. The toy is beautifully dressed in a sweater with a skirt - like a young lady. If the hostess took her for a walk - probably this is her favorite doll.
The artist used a contrasting combination of dark objects of a peasant economy with bright attire of a small rural mischief.
The general dark background as if illuminates a children's smile, from which not only her face brightens, but also everything around.
No wonder the canvas is considered one of the best children's portraits in Russian painting.
One can only guess whose portrait the picture became. Perhaps the canvas depicts the daughter of the painter in the image of his peasant friends.
Description of Serebryakova's Painting Breakfast