Thursday, August 24, 2017

Arkhipov's Washer-Women

Abram Arkhipov (Russian, 1862-1930) did two versions of his famous paintings of washer-women. 


His first version of 1899 came after a tireless search through different wash houses, where he observed the characteristic movements and the quality of light streaming through the window.

Then, at a wash-house in the Smolensk market in Moscow, he noticed an old woman sitting off to the side, her head resting in her hand, and her right arm resting on her knee. 



The second picture brings the figures closer and lights them more prominently. He was moved by the spirit of hopelessness and exhaustion, which gave the painting a social message as well as an aesthetic one. 
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9 comments:

A Colonel of Truth said...

First glance, Zorn came to mind - similar in subject matter; design; lighting. But slightly more "polished." Fine painting!

Garrett said...

It's great to see an alternate version of this painting. I've always admired the second one in the book "Beyond Impressionism," but didn't know there was a preliminary version. Thanks for sharing!

James Gurney said...

Colonel, good eye. Yes, Zorn was quite the toast of the Russian artistic elite, as he and his paintings came for a visit orchestrated by Diaghilev.

Paul Sullivan said...

Today's post of the paintings of late 19th century washer-women by Russian artist, Arkhipov is excellent. I think they have a powerful look for several reasons. The most important is that they are about a real subject in the real world as it existed at the time. Secondly, these paintings are profound statements of human emotion in paint—in this case, hopelessness, dispair. The fact that they are executed so magnificently is almost a secondary consideration. Thanks for this wonderful post.

Rich said...

Good backlighting job as well.

Well, hmmm; not just a "job". It's Fine Art.

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jytte said...

This is a painting to show today's young people :o)

Jim Douglas said...

Does anyone know the dimensions of either of these paintings?

Sketching Artist said...

What a challenge that must have been! I've spent many an hour in laundramats over the years. With the aid of electricity and machines, there is less exhaustion and hopelessness, but there can be a bit of apathy and despair sometimes. And grittiness.
This sounds like excellent subject matter for an Urban Sketch challenge!