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Karl Bryullov was without a doubt a talented, but very lonely artist, because even he suffered a disease alone. For seven long months, the fifty-year-old artist, on the recommendation of doctors, did not leave his bed, they did not let anyone in, he was completely alone in an empty apartment.
And now, on a sunny May day of 1848, when everything had blossomed and blowing a warm breeze outside the window, the disease finally receded. The first things that the artist demanded from the doctor who came to see him were an easel and paints, with the help of which he began with amazing speed to paint a portrait, his own portrait, which he depicted according to the testimonies of his contemporaries in just two hours.
In this portrait, the entire artist, all his power and talent, which for a long time hid in favor of a long illness, manifested themselves in this picture. The artist portrayed himself in a sitting position, his right hand leaning impotently on a couch of red fabric. The red color here is not accidental, since in addition to being the artist’s most favorite color, on this canvas he is called upon to create a contrast between the weakened and aging artist and the vivid colors of the life he loved so much.
A pale face, tightened eyelids, thin, exhausted fingertips - all these are the features of Bryulov during this period. The black shirt also shows how tired the person sitting in the chair is, tired of fighting, tired of living, but stubbornly continues to strive to preserve his talent in order to give people some more wonderful works. Sad, intelligent and all-understanding eyes look from the portrait, as if saying goodbye to their viewers and to everything that is fading into the past.
This is how the artist saw himself, having lived in the world for half a century, and this is how his viewer sees him two centuries later. With this portrait he completes his life, which he compares with a candle, which burned out in 1952.
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