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This is the last big picture of the great Russian artist. It was written by him in the last year of his life, when Kustodiev was already almost completely struck by his serious illness. Experiencing severe pain caused by tuberculosis of the spine, Kustodiev in his painting tried to portray the collective image of a Russian village beauty. A chubby young lady, sparkling with health, shine, clean freshly washed skin. Her golden hair falls in a waterfall on one side. A sincere, lively smile and cornflower blue, beautiful eyes.
It is important to pay attention to the situation in which the girl is. This is an ordinary village bathhouse, of which there are thousands throughout Russia. The girl is true Venus, since soap bubbles are visible at her feet, and as is known according to legend, Venus arose from the foam of the Mediterranean Sea, and in Russia from soap foam a hot bath.
The image of Russian Venus, according to Kustodiev, is personified in a healthy girl, in the prime of life, strong, in the magnificent body of a village woman. Able to create a strong family and the birth of healthy children.
Kustodiev was attracted to thin women with a lively mind, such was the artist's wife. But more often than not, in his paintings, the author liked to portray exactly full women. He portrayed them with some tenderness, and sometimes even mockery.
For this picture, Elena Nikolaeva, a young country girl, posed for the master. Quite remarkable is the fact that during the restoration of the painting it turned out that the broom made of birch branches was painted on the girl’s body a year after the painting was completed. This once again confirms that the artist greatly appreciated the opinion of his beloved wife, and apparently spent a year thinking about the painting, and yet decided to finish painting the object covering the girl’s intimate place.
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