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Eyes are the Windows to the Soul exhibit of Russian portrait masters

Location: Mercato, 9115 Strada Place, #5130

11/23/2020 - 12/11/2020


Eyes are the Windows to the Soul exhibit of Russian portrait masters: Sergei Smirnov and Slava Fokk.

Smirnov’s works have a subtle, jewel-like quality in both line and tone. There is a precision to each silhouette and to every feature of the faces he depicts that is reminiscent of the sharpness of the facets of a cut gemstone. The colors he uses bring to mind semiprecious stones: carnelian reds, moss agate greens, the browns of smoky quartz, the yellows of topaz and citrine, the purples of amethyst. The backgrounds he selects for his portraits are rich and textured, rippling with minute variations in hue and saturation.

In looking at his art, one can easily appreciate that Smirnov ranks Gustav Klimt, the Austrian painter whose images were a cornerstone of the art nouveau movement, as an important influence. He also cites Modigliani and Rembrandt as major influences, as well as Andrei Rublev and Pheophan Grek, who were celebrated masters of Slavic icon painting. Smirnov’s style has echoes of his favorite period of Russian art, known as “parsuna”, which bridged the worlds of religious and personal portraiture, as Russian painters began adopting the portrait painting styles of Western European salons. “Parsuna”, which is derived from the Latin persona, means mask, and the hybrid imagery, first used in the 17th century, re-mains in play to this day in the art of Sergey Smirnov.