Russian Art

Unknown Portrait of Iakov Fiodorovich Turgenev. 1695 (or ear

Portrait of Iakov Fiodorovich Turgenev (16??-1695), from the so-called "Transfiguration" series This imposing and frequently reproduced image has been used in texts to represent late seventeenth-century Russian painting. The work is seemingly possessed of two minds: it simultaneously rejects the constraints of icon painting and reinforces the conventions of the past. As it turned out, however, Russian painting was moving inexorably toward an adoption of Western ideas and modes of representation. Those modes and ideas ultimately shape this portrait of Ivan Turgenev, which is, in fact, a very evolved "parsuna" (a Russian word derived from the Latin 'persona' employed, beginning in the sixteenth century, to refer to the new art form of representing a living human being). Turgenev's likeness, painted by an anonymous artist, was certainly created in Moscow whose rulers supported the drive to secularize representation. This early work marks a secular break from icon painting in its representation of a living person, but still adheres to many of the stylistic conventions of icons. (00158)
Copyright ©. George Mitrevski. Auburn University.