None of the lifetime portraits of M. Yu. Lermontov does not give a complete picture of what the poet looked like. Moreover, all the portraits seem to depict different people. And it's not just about appearance - facial expressions, posture, posture, look are so different, as if they characterize opposite psychological types. What is the mystery - in the versatility of Lermontov's nature or in the fact that the artists did not manage to discern something most important?
The earliest portraits of M. Yu. Lermontov were made by unknown artists, probably serfs. These are children's portraits, and it is still difficult to draw any conclusions from them.
In the portrait by F. Budkin, the author's desire to embellish nature is noticeable: an elongated face, a straight nose, beautiful forehead lines, lush hair - these are not real features of the posing, but rather the artist's desire to flatter him.
In editions of the works of M. Lermontov, his portrait by P. Zabolotsky is often published. The artist was Lermontov's teacher of painting and knew him well. Probably, it was the close acquaintance with the poet that gave him advantages - the portrait was made in a realistic manner and accurately conveys not only the features of his appearance, but also some character traits. Compared to the dashing self-confident hussar from the portrait of F. Budkin, the poet depicted by Zabolotsky looks more believable: indecision slips in his gaze, there is no bravado in his posture. Among lifetime portraits, the work of P. Zabolotsky is considered one of the best.
While in exile in the Caucasus, in 1837 M. Lermontov painted a self-portrait for his beloved woman, V. Lopukhina. This work is interesting because in it the author captured his own ideas about himself - spiritual softness and even timidity, combined with a somewhat childish face and inescapable sadness in his eyes, create a tragic and ambiguous, somewhat romanticized image. At the same time, Lermontov does not seek to embellish reality in anything - the portrait is true in all the details of its appearance.
In 1838-1840. 3 portraits of M. Lermontov are painted by A. Klyunder. Between these works, no more than a year passes - but nevertheless, one cannot fail to notice the difference in the appearance of the posing. At the same time, regarding the first portrait, doubts were often expressed about the similarity with the original.
In 1840, another portrait of Lermontov was painted by P. Zabolotsky. And again, in the work, the artist's warm attitude to the posing and his close acquaintance with him is guessed - the author tried to depict not only the external features, but also the mood and emotional state of the poet at that moment: the concentrated gaze and firmness of expressive lips betray a strong-willed character.
Notable is the portrait painted by the poet's brother-in-arms, Baron D. Palen, after the Valerik battle. It is believed that this is the most similar to the original of all the lifetime portraits of Lermontov.
The watercolor portrait by K. Gorbunov is the last lifetime depiction of Lermontov. The artist R. Shvede had a chance to write a poet on his deathbed.
The most accurate are usually called the works of P. Zabolotsky and D. Palen - perhaps this impression is formed due to the fact that the artists were well acquainted with the poet and captured not only his appearance, but also their warm attitude towards the posing.Nevertheless, even in these pictures we see three dissimilar people - who knows, maybe this is evidence of frequent and profound internal changes, and with them changes in the poet's appearance. Or each artist focused on different features that he himself considered the most important. This will remain one of the many mysteries associated with the poet's personality. Another of them is Lermontov's attitude to duels: the poet was a fatalist and did not aim at opponents
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