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The artist painted this self-portrait in his youth. At this time, he was not yet recognized by all, and skill did not come to him. Levitan is 20 years old.
We see a young man with typically southern features of his strong-willed face. The hair, incredibly wavy, forms a whole characteristic cap. The eyes are very huge and inquisitive. The lips are quite full6 and the oval of the face is quite subtle. Who is he? Perhaps an Italian or a Greek? This is how we represent Italy's gondoliers.
We see a person with a stubborn character. The inclination of his head is special. Before us is a man who has already experienced a lot. He survived the death of his loved ones, starving, he did not have a livelihood. The theme of his paintings will be magnificent nature, the beauty of which he could convey as fully and vividly as possible.
This self-portrait is not a picture, but like a light drawing made with charcoal and a brush. All this, combined with a very warm tone of the main background, allows you to feel that this creation is a real painting. It seems that this portrait was painted very quickly, but at the same time as sharply as possible.
On the edge of the picture are wide brush strokes. But at the same time, the head and face are modeled as detailed as possible. They convey all the features, especially the facial expressions of the artist.
Self-portrait is as realistic as possible. The viewer sees that the artist is very poor, we also understand that he is a Jew and an artist. The background of the painting itself is light. Dark hair and a jacket form a silhouette that stands out on the self-portrait. The face is not highlighted by tone. It is framed by a black beard and hair. The whole image becomes quite romantic, but at the same time dramatic.
The image is as concrete as possible, Levitan’s hand is incredibly virtuoso. The viewer feels this to the fullest. The artist wants to express himself, but this desire is not yet recognized by him. We very clearly understand that, despite such a young age, we are facing a real master.