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I.S.Kulikov is an outstanding Russian portrait painter. He painted not just portraits, but filled the characters with originality. The artist was interested in culture and folklore, which could not but reflect on his work.
The portrait “The Old Man Reading” has another name, “Portrait of the Old Believer”. The canvas is one of the most famous.
The painting depicts an old man with a long beard and carelessly scattered hair. For the beginning of the twentieth century, this appearance was unusual. This is an Old Believer, according to tradition, people with such a worldview look like this. He is focused on reading, his gaze is directed to the book, and his fingers tightly hold the page. A book of impressive size, which speaks of its rarity. At that time, books were a luxury; not everyone could afford to buy such an impressive publication.
For Old Believers, books belonged to the community or were inherited. Most likely, this book is religious. Concentration says that the old man reads a text filled with deep meaning. Warm clothes indicate that it is winter outside. And the reading itself more often took place on winter evenings, because in summer there is a lot of work and time is not enough.
A scarf that is embroidered in a folk style is tied around the man’s neck. Such elements of clothing were common to the artist. In his works, Russian painted scarves and elements of folk costume are often found. Such an element demonstrates the identity of the old man.
The picture is made in dark colors, which indicates the seriousness of the occupation of the old man. Perhaps the mood of the artist influenced the choice of colors. From the work it blows with concentration.
The artist very accurately conveyed the character of the old man, his hobbies and seriousness. Such people are the guardians of the traditions of the people, they pass on invaluable experience from generation to generation. This is how originality is preserved and, based on old traditions, a new history of a successful state is written.