Fedotov, P. A.
"The Young Widow" (1851-1852) is a moving portrayal of a young pregnant woman, surrounded by belongings, which are soon to be confiscated to repay her dead husband's debt. Gone is the moralizing, sardonic wit of Fedotov's earlier work. The theme of time, which fascinated him throughout his career, appears yet again, for the composition illustrates the past, present, and future of the widow's circumstances.
Fedotov actually painted this work twice, once in 1851, and again in 1851-1852. In the later painting the widow is more idealized, her pregnancy less obvious. She wears a distant expression on her face, as though she has escaped into a realm far removed from the tragedy and death that is her earthly existence. The Romantic tone of this composition may well reflect the artist's own disillusionment and flight from life's harsh realities -- the realities which pervaded his early works and ultimately contributed to his mental breakdown. (00221)