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1940; oil, cardboard; 65 × 55; Russian Museum.
Representative of the genre of analytical realism Pavel Nikolayevich Filonov refers to self-taught artists. A native of a simple family, he received a professional education becoming a house painter, but the desire to paint pictures was awakened in him in his early youth. Filonov had an extraordinary sense of proportion, which was noted by his teachers from the Moscow Art Academy, where he was accepted as a free listener. However, after studying for two years, Filonov was forced to leave the walls of the Academy.
His peculiar expressive style of writing too diverged from what was considered correct and appropriate among artists of the simple Soviet people. Filonov's avant-garde rather followed in his manner a school of French masters of the genre. He defended his unique vision of reality uncompromisingly, despite all the hardships he had to endure.
Painting Faces refers to the mature work of the artist. It is part of an impromptu triptych - three paintings painted in the 1940th year, all with the same name. One of the works, unfortunately, was lost.
On this canvas, five figures of adult men stand out, two of them, in the foreground, are shown waist-high, two more in the background of the picture are visible only on the shoulders, and only part of the fifth head is hidden behind the first-person characters. All figures are naked as far as the viewer can see. Their faces are filled with sharp sharp strokes, they clearly bear traces of a difficult life. The facial expressions of the characters are tense, they carefully peer into the distance, as if trying to look behind the frame of the picture somewhere to the side.
The figures seemed to melt into the patterned mosaic surrounding them from all sides. In color fragments of the background filling the picture, you can see houses or landscape elements, or fragments of faces - the viewer's imagination prompts his vision. As with all Filonov’s canvases, the inner essence of life is displayed here, appealing to careful, thoughtful study.