Beauty in Art
Ex. 1 Do you know the meaning
of these words? Choose five words that you know and explain them to another
reproduction, landscape, drawing, seascape, sketch, subject, ink, title,
print, gallery, poster, museum, illustration, exhibition, collection, water-colour
Ex. 2 What’s the difference?
Explain the difference between the following pair of words:
Ex. 3 Re-order these words in
terms of strength of colour. Compare your answers in pairs. Mind colour is
strong, subtle, brilliant,
muted, vivid, deep, soft, faint, bright, bold, intense, vibrant
Ex. 4 Discuss in groups:
-- Which do you prefer –
paintings or photographs? Why?
-- What kind of paintings do
-- Is there anything you
really don’t like?
Ex. 5 Make up dialogues using
the following expressions:
-- What do you think it
-- I think it symbolizes…
-- I just don’t understand
-- It doesn’t do anything for
-- … not my kind of thing.
-- I don’t think much of it.
-- Pretentious… A load of
-- I prefer something more…
Gainsborough "Portrait of Duchess de Beaufort"
Gainsborough (1727-1788) was an outstanding English painter of the 18th
century. He was a brilliant portraitist and was a favourite of the
aristocracy. The artist's deep psychological approach enabled him to impart a
poetic expression of individuality.
Gainsborough's "Portrait of Duchess de Beaufort" is an outstanding work of
art. The artist depicts a graceful and attractive young woman. She has a
pleasant oval face, straight eyebrows and black eyes, a straight nose and
well-shaped delicate hands. You can see that she is an aristocrat.
rather pale complexion is contrasted by the dark colour of the background (the
dark background was traditional in Gainsborough's time). The artist enlivens
the face by a little colour on her cheeks.
greyish hair is combed very high and fastened with a comb and a blue ribbon,
as was the fashion in those days. The dress is very low cut, also according to
the fashion of the day.
portrait is painted in cold colours (black, blue, grey, white). At first sight
you may think that it is a traditional ceremonial portrait, but if you look
attentively, you will see that her parted lips, fleeting glance, and graceful
gesture of her hand help to create a true impression of the sitter's vitality
and optimism. The woman in the picture is alive, and we have a feeling that
she is looking at us.
Read the text. Get the information about the painter, and the person in the
picture. Study the portrait. Give a detailed description. Make use of the
words in the box. Follow the instructions below.
the epoch, the painter, the person depicted, his/her social status
how he/she looks
good/bad points; how he/she behaves, his/her temperament; occupation,
final comments, your feelings.
Find synonyms to Russian words in the text
живость и оптимизм
приятное овальное лицо
довольно бледный цвет
ее сероватые волосы
зачесаны очень высоко
платье с очень
в соответствии с
на первый взгляд
Ex. 2 Put questions to the
text using the following words and words expressions:
favourite portraitist of the aristocracy
a poetic expression of individuality
pleasant oval face
well-shaped delicate hands
greyish hair is combed very high
Give Russian equivalents to the English ones:
with a comb
is very low cut
traditional ceremonial portrait
sitter's vitality and optimism
Ex. 4 Translate the dialogue
using the words from exercises 2 and 3
А: Меня интересует
английская живопись. Есть ли у вас в музее картины английских мастеров?
В: Да, у нас есть
небольшая, но изысканная коллекция английского искусства. Вот спуститесь по
этой лестнице, пересеките зал импрессионистов, и вы будете там.
А: Спасибо. Вы,
конечно, знаете "Портрет герцогини де Бофор" знаменитого художника Гейнсборо?
В: О да. У нас есть
оригинал этой картины. Это поистине шедевр мирового искусства.
А: Какая удача! Я
видела только копию этой картины и так хочу посмотреть оригинал. Гейнсборо –
В: Да, я знаю. Он был
любимым портретистом аристократии и написал чудесные портреты. Но "Герцогиня
де Бофор", конечно, его шедевр.
А: Да, художник
обладал способностью изображать сходство, а также передавать поэтическую
В: Да, я согласна с
вами. Глубокий психологический подход художника дает ему возможность правдиво
изображать натуру. У нас такое чувство, что дама смотрит на нас.
А: Спасибо. Было очень
интересно поговорить с вами.
Ex. 1 Look at the picture and
give a detailed description of it, using a vocabulary of this unit
Gainsborough. 'Mrs. Siddons'. 1785
Alexandrovich Serov (1865-1911)
Serov was born in St. Petersburg, the son of the well-known composer Alexander
Serov. In his childhood the future artist was steeped in an artistic
atmosphere: not only musicians, but also artists such as Mark Antokolsky and
Ilya Repin were visitors to the house, and Alexander Serov himself was an
ardent amateur artist. His son's powers of observation and talent for drawing
became apparent from an early age and the conditions in which he grew up were
conducive to their development. At first he studied under the German etcher A.
Kemping, and then he was taught by Repin, whom his mother had shown his
drawings, on the advice of Antokolsky.
gave the young Serov his first lessons in Paris and continued them in Moscow
and Abramtsevo. After a trip with his talented pupil to Zaporozhye, Repin sent
him in 1880 to the celebrated Pavel Chistyakov at the Academy of Arts.
young artist's talent won admiration and respect all round. Chistyakov
remarked that he had never come across anyone endowed with so much versatile
artistic talent: 'Drawing, colouring, chiaroscuro, characterisation, a sense
of the wholeness of his task, composition— Serov could cope with all these
things, and cope with them to the highest degree.'
artist's friends valued his human qualities too, especially his
straightforwardness and honesty.
formation of Serov's artistic outlook was greatly affected by his life at
Abramtsevo and Domotkanovo, not far from Moscow. He came to love the
central-Russian countryside with its groves, glades, ravines, coppices and
villages. And the estate of the famous art-patron Mamontov at Abramtsevo,
where Korovin and Vrubel worked on stage decorations, where there was a
majolica workshop, and a successful private opera house, inspired the young
artist to great creative heights. At the age of twenty-two or twenty-three
Serov produced works which have become classics of Russian art.
Ex. 1 Answer the questions:
When and where was V.A. Serov born?
What was his father?
In what atmosphere was V. Serov steeped in
Who were the famous artists visited his
Who were his teachers?
What were Serov’s artistic talents?
What did his friends value him for?
What was the formation of Serov’s artistic
outlook greatly affected by?
What was his attitude towards the
At what age did he produce works which
have become classics of Russian art?
Ex. 2 Give the definition of
the following words and word combinations:
a composer, childhood, artist,
musician, etcher, art-patron, to cope with, to be inspired, on the advice of.
Ex. 3 Find out some facts
about Serov’s biography and tell the class.
Ex. 4 Describe the
self-portrait of Serov
Ex.5. Read, act and learn the
I like portraits by Serov.
B: So do I. He was a very
talented artist. He was able to portray likeness ideally.
A: And not only that. The
artist’s deep psychological approach enabled him to create a true impression
of the sitter.
B: Certainly. I especially
like his “Portrait of the Actress Yermolova”. Do you remember it?
A: Of course, I do. This
portrait is outstanding work of art.
B: Indeed. We can say it’s a
masterpiece of world painting. How laconically and forcefully the artist
reveals the creative spirit of the actress!
A: He was deeply impressed by
her acting and tried to import the greatness of the human spirit and strength
of the individual.
B: And did it very skillfully.
Her figure in a black dress, standing out in graceful silhouette against the
background of the grey-blue walls, looks very impressive.
A: And the folds of the dress,
falling to the floor, seem to form a pedestal.
B: That’s right. No wonder,
Serov was recognized by his contemporaries as the finest portrait painter of
Ex. 5 Find out the following
words and word combinations from the dialogue
идеально, лаконично и сильно, раскрывает
творческий дух, он был под глубоким впечатлением от ее игры, передать величие
человеческого духа, сила человека, искусно, фигура, грациозный силуэт, на фона
стены, выглядит очень впечатляюще, складки платья, ниспадающие на пол,
образует как бы
Ex. 1 Read and translate the
not intend to expose faults, he merely sharpened those features which were
sometimes deeply hidden and not immediately apparent to everyone. If he liked
a person, even though it was an official commission, the master's brush would
produce an attractive image: for example, Z. Yusupova (1902, RM) is charmingly
feminine and gentle, and G. Girshman (1907, TG) is a pleasing image of
painting and drawing skills are quite outstanding. The great emotional
effectiveness of his works can be explained by his ability to find precisely
the right means of representation and to embody a many-faceted picture of life
in a perfect form. Take any of Serov's portraits: it is not just a talented
reproduction of some individual's features, but an image of the world in which
that person lives.
years also saw Serov achieve perfection as a graphic-artist. His
portrait-drawings of the singer Fyodor Chaliapin, the actor and stage-director
Konstantin Stanislavsky, the actors Ivan Moskvin and Vasily Kachalov, the
composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, the artist Mikhail Vrubel and the writer
Leonid Andreyev are the pride of Russian art.
the turn of the century the artist treated themes from earlier Russian
history, producing a cycle of pencil drawings, guaches, water-colours and
pictures in tempera and oils. These small compositions are extremely vibrant,
as though done from nature (cf. Peter the Second and Yelizaveta Petrovna
Set Out on the Hunt, 1900, RM).
1907 Serov went to Greece, which' made a deep impression on him. He was
delighted by the decorative qualities and balance of classical architecture.
In an effort to express what he saw, and to convey the essence and beauty of
ancient Greek mythology, he painted a picture based on the legend The
Abduction of Europa (1910, TG) and several versions of Odysseus and
Nausika (1910, TG, RM).
work in the theatre was also interesting: his curtain for the ballet
Scheherazade was greatly admired in Paris and London.
interest in monumental-decorative art led to the highly original portrait of
the dancer Ida Rubinstein (1910, RM). The artist found reminders of the Orient
in the dancer's appearance, and compared her with the figures of classical
last works Serov strove towards increased expressiveness of form. This is very
evident in his portraits of O. Orlova (1911, RM), V. Girshman (1911, TG), and
especially G. Girshman (1911, TG) and in the unfinished portrait of P.
the morning of 22 November 1911 Valentin Serov was hurrying to the
Shcherbatovs for a portrait sitting when he fell and suffered an attack of
stenocardia. He died at the peak of his talent, at the age of forty-six.
shocked his contemporaries. The poet Valery Bryussov, an ardent admirer of the
artist, wrote: 'Serov was a realist in the best sense of the word. He
unerringly saw the secret truth of life, and the things he painted revealed
the very essence of phenomena, which other eyes cannot even see.'
Ex. 2 Describe each of the
V. Serov. The Abduction of
Europa V. Serov. Portrait of Anna Pavlova
Ex. 3 Say as many sentences as
you can, using the following substitution pattern:
Ex. 4 Study the word
subject (n) – 1. a thing or
a person that is being discussed or described
topic or theme
person or thing that is the main feature of a picture or a photograph
branch of knowledge
subject-matter – the
information or ideas contained in a book, speech, e.t.c., as contrasted with
the style in which they are presented.
Ex. 5 Render the following
Everyone knows how high passions sometimes run when art is the subject
of dispute. 2. Landscape is probably the most popular of the subjects
which the Dutch painted. 3. Genre painting is a major category of
subject-matter in seventeenth century Dutch painting. 4. Dressed or nude,
she provides the subject for many canvases by the great painter. 5. He
used the subject of this particular picture once before. 6. We shall
soon discover, that the beauty of a picture does not really lie in the beauty
of its subject-matter.
Ex. 6 Arrange the following in
pairs of antonyms:
success, worthy, dependence,
happy, wrong, to neglect, richness, poor, easy, failure, worthless,
independence, unhappy, right, to pay attention, poverty, different, rich
Ex. 7 Translate the following
groups of words into Russian:
to paint – painter – painterly
to depict – pictorial –
picture – picturesque;
to master – master – mastery –
to portray – portrayal –
portrait – portraitist – portraiture;
worth – worthy – worthless.
Beauty in Nature
Morland. "Approaching Storm."
Morland (1763-1804) was an outstanding English artist of the 18th century and
a brilliant painter of landscape. Like many artists, he turned to nature for
inspiration. He had an instinctive feeling for nature. Among his pictures,
"The "Approaching Storm" is truly remarkable. It is, indeed, a masterpiece
of world painting. Looking at the picture, you can easily understand how
keenly the artist felt nature in every detail. He was able to impart a
sinister atmosphere of the coming storm. You feel the threatening silence
before the storm. The sky is overcast. The first gust of wind shakes the tees,
the next moment it will start raining.
artist enlivens the landscape by two hoses and a dog muddling together in a
little group, seeking protection from man in danger. This landscape is typical
example of sentimental and poetic painting.
Ex. 1 Describe the picture
close to the text, or learn the text by heart.
Ex. 2 Find the English
equivalents from the text
как и многие художники; поистине замечательный;
типичный пример сентиментальной и поэтической живописи; легко; остро;
чувствовал природу; каждая подробность; грозное затишье перед бурей; небо
затянуто тучами; первый порыв ветра раскачивает деревья; сгрудившиеся вместе в
маленькую группу; ища защиты у человека; опасность.
Which is the odd word out?
outstanding, brilliant, remarkable,
artist, painter, architect, composer,
sky, storm, wind, atmosphere, nature,
Ex. 4 Give definitions to the
Ex. 5 Render the context of
A: Какие картины вы
В: Я предпочитаю пейзаж.
А: Кто ваш любимый пейзажист?
В: Вы знаете, это очень трудно сказать. Во все
времена было столько талантливых мастеров.
А: Вы правы. И во все времена художники
обращались к природе за вдохновением.
В: Да-да. Талантливый художник обладает
инстинктивным чувством природы. Вы помните английского художника
XVII века Джорджа Морлэнда?
А: О да, конечно. Это выдающийся мастер
В: В Эрмитаже есть его картина «Приближение
А: А, да, я знаю. Мне нравится эта картина. Я бы
сказал, что это типичный пример сентиментальной живописи.
В: А вы заметили, как реалистична картина? Глядя
на нее, вы чувствуете грозное затишье перед бурей. На небе собираются темные
Первый порыв ветра раскачивает деревья, и вы чувствуете, что в
следующий момент пойдет дождь.
В: А вы обратили внимание, как художник оживляет
пейзаж группой: человек, две лошади и собака на переднем плане.
А: Да, конечно. Без этой группы картина не
выглядела бы такой живой.
Alexandrovich Vasiliev (1850-1873)
Vasiliev was born at Gatchina, into the family of a low-rank post-office
official. When he was twelve the family moved to St. Petersburg and settled on
the Vasilievsky Island. Fyodor's childhood was joyless, with his family in
constant material difficulties. For a time the future artist worked as a
postman and then joined the drawing school run by the Society for the
Furtherance of the Arts. Two small, freshly-coloured landscapes — In the
Church Grounds (1867, RM) and A Village Yard (1867, RM) — and
several drawings, the best of which were done on the island of Valaam, all
date from this period.
artist was exhilarated by the beauty of the wild, untouched scenery of Valaam,
which he visited with Ivan Shishkin in 1867. Shishkin gave him advice,
teaching him to observe nature closely and to depict it in minute detail.
Shishkin's influence can partly be seen in Vasiliev's early landscape A
Village (1868, TG), although it is even closer to some Russian landscapes
of the early nineteenth century. The motif is commonplace. The landscape is
narrative. With small brush-strokes, the artist gives a detailed description
of run-down cottages, a winding road and pools of water reflecting the clouds.
The composition suffers from being rather fragmented, however, and the colour
harmony is not quite right.
finished the drawing school in 1868, Vasiliev was drawn towards the St.
Petersburg Artists' Artel. Witty and charming, he soon became everybody's
favourite, but he was particularly friendly with Ivan Kramskoi. Kramskoi never
ceased to admire the young man's extraordinary giftedness, likening him to 'a
rich man in a fairy tale, who at the same time is fabulously generous and
flings his riches in handfuls in all directions, without counting them or even
appreciating their value'.
spent the summer of 1869 first at Znamenskoye, Stroganov's Tambov estate, then
at Khoten in the Ukraine. The fruit of this trip was the painting After the
Rain (1869, TG) in which the artist strove not only to give a concrete
representation of the motif, but to convey the state of nature: the earth
moist from recent rain, the freshness of the foliage, the puddles sparkling in
the rays of sunlight breaking through the storm-clouds. In this landscape one
can already hear the lyrical notes that would sound in all of Vasiliev's
Ex. 1 Answer the questions:
When and where was F. Vasiliev born?
At what age did his family move to St.
What was his childhood?
Did he get a special education?
What was the young artist exhilarated by?
Whose influence can be seen in Vasiliev’s
early landscape “A Village” (1868)?
When did he finish the drawing school?
Whom was he particularly friendly with?
What was the first of his trip in 1869?
What did the artist reveal in his painting
“After the Rain”?
Ex. 2 Match the word
corresponding to these definitions.
A place where you can go and see paintings
A painting by a famous painter of a
The name given to paintings of static
objects, for example, fruit or flowers
A word used to describe a painting of the
A word used to describe very strong
A word used to describe very good painting
A word used to describe very weak colours
The name given to the sort of picture
found in books often to accompany text.
The name given to authentic painting as
opposed to a copy
Ex. 3 Study the verb
to be not so black as one is painted –
быть не таким уж
плохим, как стараются
to paint smb. black –
to paint smth.
red – подать в яркой, сенсационной форме
to cut the painter –
– письмо грубым мазком
Read and translate the description of the picture. Give
your own opinion.
In winter of 1871 Vasiliev had
contracted tuberculosis and in July he went to Yalta at the expence of the
Society for the Furtherance of Arts. In Yalta he continued to paint – from
sketches, studies and memories. In 1872 the artist produced his masterpiece “A
Wet Meadow” (TG) — a generalised evocation of
Russian nature. The fine balance of the composition, the complex colour
relations and the picture's smooth rhythm convey an impression of grandeur and
significance. A Wet Meadow is one of the finest examples of Russian
F. Vasiliev. A Wet Meadow
Choose a reproduction of a famous picture and prepare a description of it.
Arrange the following in pairs of synonyms:
realize, desire, actual, man-made, discuss, to see, to reply, to express, to
ask, to be acquainted, to try, to produce, deep, skill, sitter, to understand,
wish, real, artificial, to view, to leave, to answer, to convey, to inquire,
to be familiar, to seek, to create, profound, mastery, to argue.
Ex. 1 Read, translate and
learn the following dialogue
How did you like your visit to the Tretyakov Gallery?
Oh, I enjoyed it. I have never seen such a rich collection of Russian
Yes, it's a fine collection, of course. I am sure that a lot of pictures drew
your attention. Are there any pictures that you especially liked?
Well, it's really difficult to choose among such a lot of masterpieces of
world painting. But I remember being charmed by one landscape. It depicts the
approach of a thunderstorm and is painted with great talent. The artist was
able to impart a sinister atmosphere of the coming storm. Only I can't
remember what the picture is called or the name of the painter.
Try to describe the picture. Perhaps, I will help you.
Well, it's a forest scene. The time is late summer or early autumn. Many
leaves on the trees are already of reddish-yellow colour. A threatening cloud
covers the sky. You get an impression that the next moment it will start
Are there people in the picture?'
Yes. The artist enlivens the landscape by two women driving geese along a
little wooden bridge across a stream in the foreground...
Oh, yes, I know! And a shepherd boy in the distance...
And in the background you see two village houses with smoke coming out of a
It's a picture by an outstanding Russian painter of the 19th century Vasilyev.
The picture is called "Before the Rain".
The landscape in the picture looks very romantic.
Vasilyev was, very talented, and his work is distinguished by a romantic
perception of life and nature.
Ex. 2 Look at the painting “Before
the Rain” by F.A. Vasiliev and give a detailed description of it using the
following words and word combinations given below
F.A. Vasiliev. “Before the
summer позднее лето
autumn ранняя осень
colour красновато-желтого цвета
threatening cloud covers the sky грозная
туча покрывает небо two women
driving geese две женщины, погоняющие гусей
little wooden bridge маленький
a stream через ручей
shepherd boy мальчик-пастух
distance в отдалении
coming out of a chimney дым,
идущий из трубы
work is distinguished by a romantic perception of life and nature
его творчество отличается романтическим
восприятием жизни и природы
painted with great talent написана с
Comment on the following statements:
The message is the motivating force of a work of art.
could be no doubt about it. The subject-matter and the idea expressed therein
is a most important quality in a work of art.
In his works we find no slavish imitation of nature.
means he is a true artist. The matter is that a true artist is seldom
interested in the mere recording of appearances.
He has the gift of posing his sitters and really possesses some of the
attributes of a great painter.
true. But it would be better if he gave force to the figures by deepening the
skilled artists should draw from live models. 2. Reality in art arises from
the awareness of the artist for life. 3. Art has an educative mission.
artists of the past had to overcome great difficulties, but being understood
was not one of them. What stood in the way of immediate fame, and caused many
of them to die in poverty, was not their incomprehensible language and form so
much as their personal independence and boldness of ideas. Shakespeare's plays
and Beethoven's symphonies were produced almost as they came from the master's
hand. Rembrandt's difficulties came from the failure of his paintings to
flatter a money-smug Dutch middle class.1 Mozart remained poor
because even a most popular composer who insulted aristocratic patrons and
scorned back-door politics2 found little money coming his way. New
styles were often hotly discussed and debated, but because of their break with
authority and tradition rather than because of their incomprehensibility.
Often new artists were attacked, not because they were not understood, but
because their ground-breaking ideas were too well understood and not welcomed.
Finkelstein, Art and Society)
money-smug Dutch middle class — богатая и
самодовольная голландская буржуазия
back-door politics — закулисная политика
Ex. 1 Put
the questions to the text and speak on the common problems of most artists of
the past and present
Ex. 2 It
is said that the role of the artist in society has always been and always will
be to express the life of his day. Discuss this statement with your comrades.
Use the following conversational formulas to express your opinion:
I don't mind
As far as
As to, as for
In this case
In any case
First of all
Насколько мне известно
В этом случае
В любом случае
Answer the following questions:
does an artist convey through his art? 2. What are some of the qualities every
artist must possess? What is a true artist interested in? 3. What is the chief
value of art according to Mendes? How do you understand it? 4. How do you
understand the statement "All great art conveys a message"? 5. What service do
you think the painter performs for mankind? 6. Why was it that an artist was
sometimes unappreciated in his own times yet highly praised by following
Read the following statement of Vincent Van Gogh and answer the questions: 1.
What is the difference between painting the essence and painting the surface
of a subject? 2. What makes a portrait great art? 3. May not an adequate
likeness be a poor painting?
only does the drawing of figures and scenes from life demand a knowledge of
the handicraft of drawing, but it demands also profound studies of literature.
draw a figure without knowing all about the bones and muscles and tendons that
are inside it. And I can't draw a head without knowing what goes on in that
person's brain and soul. In order to paint life one must understand not
only anatomy, but what people feel and think about the world they live in. The
painter who knows his own craft and nothing else will turn out to be a very
Stone, Lust for Life)
Ex.5 Where do you go to enjoy
beauty? In Great Britain, in Russia, in France, in the USA?
collection of Old Masters Paintings (38 paintings) offered to the nation by an
English private collector, Sir George Beamount.
picture galleries of the National Gallery of Art exhibit works of all the
European schools of painting which existed between the 13th and 19th
centuries. The most famous works among them are 'Venus and Cupid' by Diego
Velazquez, 'Adoration of the Shepherds' by Nicolas Poussin, 'A Woman Bathing'
by Harmensz van Rijn Rembrandt, 'Lord Heathfield' by Joshua Reynolds, 'Mrs
Siddons' by Thomas Gainsborough and many others.
the Tate Gallery was opened to house the more modern British paintings. Most
of the National Gallery collection of British paintings were transferred to
the Tate, and only a small collection of a few masterpieces is now exhibited
at Trafalgar Square. Thus, the Tate Gallery exhibits a number of interesting
collections of British and foreign modern painting and also modern sculpture.
collection of Turner's paintings at the Tate includes about 300 oils and
19,000 water-colours and drawings. He was the most traditional artist of his
time as well as the most original: traditional in his devotion to the Old
Masters and original in his creation of new styles. It is sometimes said that
he prepared the way for the Impressionists.
modern collection includes the paintings of Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso,
Marc Chagall and Salvador Dali, Francis Bacon and Graham Sutherland, Peter
Blake and Richard Hamilton.
National Gallery of Art in London