Prompt to yesterday’s art quiz – and now answer!

My yesterday’s question was about the detail that Pavel Fedotov used in one of his last paintings, the Widow, to make the interior in his paintings feel like living space, and not a theatre set.

Pavel Fedotov, Widow. 1851-52
Pavel Fedotov, Widow. 1851-52

Here’s a prompt. Fedotov made several copies of the Widow. He changed objects in the room, he changed the pose of the widow, but that detail remained unchanged. Look at the other two versions. The detail I am talking about winks at you from each version. 996d45d9bc9c3a2ae0b8affb8086026c 55378954_fedotov19

And now the answer: it was an amazing woodcuts artists, Abel Dewitz, who saw it first. I urge you to go over and see his work if you haven’t seen it yet, and if you have, enjoy it once again!

Yes, it is the drawer that is not closed properly.

She’s a lady who cares about the proper order and arrangement of things. Look at the pillows on the bed. Look at the draperies. Look at the top of the chest of drawers: in each painting, all the items are arranged in the most organized way. But she is too emotionally distracted to properly close the drawer. This small detail tells us she actually opened and closed the drawer, and so it is not a prop. Or a very, very clever artist who organised the prop this way to make it real.

Fedotov could spend 6 to 9 months on a painting, going out, searching for the authentic premises, authentic irons, kettles, even cakes! He paid attention to even the slightest detail to make it all…real.

10 comments

    1. Yes, the arrangement of the bed changes, but this change is dictated by the balance of lightness and darkness in the painting. The third (the bottom) copy is obviously off in terms of balance, with the back disappearing, together with the items she put on the floor for the auction.

  1. A lot of details are changing from painting to painting, but a drawer is always a little bit open, perhaps it´s to tight? That looks a bit irregular, not like beeing staged.

    1. Bingo! Yes. She’s a lady who cares about proper order and arrangement of things. If you look at the top of the chest of drawers, in each painting all the items are arranged in the most organized way. But she is too emotionally distracted to properly close the drawer. This small details tells us she actually opened and closed the drawer, and so it is not a prop. Or a very, very clever artist who organised the prop this way to make it real.

It would be grand to hear from you now!

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