Girl with Peaches by Valentin Serov (1887)
I’m listening to Understanding Russia, A Cultural History. When Professor Hartnett mentioned this painting, on a whim, I sat down at my computer and searched for it.
And fell in love.
Serov’s own commentary:
All I wanted was freshness,
that special freshness that you can always feel in real life
and don’t see in paintings.
I painted it for over a month and tortured her, poor child, to death,
because I wanted to preserve the freshness in the finished painting,
as you can see in old works by great masters.
Apparently, this portrait is used in many internet memes in Russia. I think that indicates how much this piece is part of their culture.
It’s new to me, and I’m delighted with it.