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Venetsianov Aleksey Gavrilovich is a significant figure in the history of Russian painting. Surprisingly, he, who never studied at the Academy of Arts, managed not only to occupy a prominent place in the galaxy of artists, but also to create a new direction in his art form.
Venetsianov was one of the first to turn his attention to the life and life of ordinary people. It was in this environment that he drew inspiration for his masterpieces. Of course, the peasants were portrayed before Venetsianov, but no one did it with such love and careful attitude to the details of real people's life. Prior to this, artists often embellished reality, creating idealized images of peasants. All this resembled the bucolistic canvases of French painters depicting sentimental scenes from the life of shepherds and shepherdesses.
Venetsianov was vividly interested in the real life of the peasants, the details of their life, their daily activities. He transferred all this to his paintings.
One of them is Sleeping Cowgirl. The plot is simple and unpretentious. Before us is a typical summer day in a village, of which there are so many in Russia. The canvas line is clearly divided into two almost equal parts. Below - lush, bright green grass and a ribbon of a stream or small river, and above - a heavenly blue, diluted with the whiteness of light clouds.
The artist depicted unprepossessing, but such native peasant houses with rickety fences. Along the riverbank is a peasant. In the foreground on the right is a sleeping cowherd boy who gave the name to the whole picture.
He leaned on a birch trunk. The child’s pose is full of peace and relaxation, an elongated leg, as it were, balances the composition of the picture. Without this detail, the boy’s figure would have looked more bulky and “outweighed” all the other details.
The cowgirl's expression is also calm and serene, the right hand in a dream turned its palm up. The boy is dressed in the usual peasant homespun clothes. Gives the origin of the hero and bast shoes, as well as a hairstyle.
The picture is filled with light, it is surprisingly gentle and lyrical, despite the routine of the plot depicted on it.