Kustodiev always wrote richly. That is, his canvases were always bright, colorful, juicy. Open to the maximum, with pure Russian expanse. He often noticed such subtleties of Russian life, which sometimes no one had previously noticed.
The artist rarely turned to portraiture. But if he did, then masterfully precisely executed faces were obtained. For example, this portrait is “Merchant Counting Money”. We can say that this is rather an illustration to Pushkin's famous “Little Tragedy” “Mean”. Although the person on the canvas is a purely Russian version, but still ...
Look at his look. Oily, but at the same time, solid - I won’t give it back! This is not a tired worker, although he also has to work in the shop. Otherwise, he could not have made a fortune and lived so happily. A rich vest, a watch chain, a broad beard - everything was written out perfectly. What about your hands? These are not tired hands. These are already quite sleek hands of a squeezed person, because something suggests that he is very greedy. At least, the hand laid on money, they say, I’ll give everything mine to no one, says a lot.
But on the other hand, without such merchants like that, Russia of that time would not have developed. Suffice it to recall that in 1913, Russia came out on top in economic terms. And merchants are just those very small cogs that moved the economy to better times. True, soon it all collapsed and depreciated. But for now, in any case, on the canvas we see a well-fed well-groomed merchant who earns enough to live comfortably for some time.
Kustodiev is still more a landscape painter or a genre artist. It’s enough to recall another half-portrait “The Merchant's Cup of Tea”. This is even more likely a genre scene, where the main role is assigned to her - burly, noble blood, a merchant.
Here You And Father Lunch