After the deafening glory that fell upon the artist with the painting “Bathing the Red Horse”, Petrov-Vodkin is looking for new topics for creativity. He was always known as an excellent portrait painter, but the theme of children's portrait became a new one for the artist. He will return to her repeatedly, portraying children of different nationalities and ages.
The painting “Portrait of a Boy” in 1913 depicts a young man of about thirteen. He is no longer quite a child, but he has a long way to go before he grows up. This contrast of ages was attempted by the author.
Strict facial features indicate that the boy has already come out of tender childhood. He is on the verge of youth, where he will have to bear responsibility for his actions. The simplicity and severity of the face indicate the boy’s awareness of his transition.
But childhood has not yet receded irrevocably. The soft and soulful look of brown eyes attracts all the attention of the viewer to them. The shade of melted chocolate gives silkiness and transparency, from which the eyes seem deep. The depth of view symbolizes the future of the boy: it will come, but it is not known what it will be.
Separately, we should speak about the background. In order not to distract the viewer's attention from the boy’s face, Petrov-Vodkin used soft and muffled tones of green. This color is known for its ability to appease. And the association with spring and green herbs emphasizes the idea that the boy is just starting to grow up, and for him life is still full of beauty. This child is as fresh and clean as the first spring greens and is full of energy and feelings. This is easily judged by the saturation of the shades.
Different strokes of the background can be perceived as an interpretation of the boy’s thoughts. They are like waves that are constantly in motion, absorbing each other.
The whole canvas is full of faith in humanity and love for the smallest members of society, which will make up its future.
Drawing For Fairy Tale Princess Frog