Portrait in Contemporary Russian Painting in the Context of World Art: A Typology of the Genre


In Russian fine art, portrait painting has been traditionally distinguished by extraordinary variety and depth, reflecting the figurative and stylistic searches of artists of different periods. Russian art historians have comprehensively studied the portrait genre in the history of art. At the same time, the well-established classification of genres does not allow to take into account completely the variety of trends and approaches to the depiction of a person in contemporary art. The understanding of the portrait genre’s boundaries in contemporary art is extremely blurred. Sometimes it means either any image of a person, or even the absence of one at all. It appears essential and important to consider the work of Russian artists in the context of international visual art practices to compose a more holistic picture connected with general cultural development. The article proposes to expand the established typology of the portrait genre adopted in Russian art. The already well-known typology of portrait painting can be updated with other types of portrait based on the semantic and semiotic analysis of artistic works of the late 20th — 21st century. It is important to study contemporary Russian portrait painting from the perspective of a variety of typological models, and to use the new language of contemporary art history to understand the processes taking place in Russian painting of the late 20th — 21st century, in order to facilitate the entry of Russian art into the international cultural context. An idea has been matured to create a National Portrait Gallery in Russia which would collect portraits and self-portraits of the greatest personalities of our era in a real and virtual space.

Ключевые слова:

portraiture typology, self-portrait, portrait-role, representative portraiture, pseudo-representative portrait, urban portrait, “face-off” portrait, existential portrait, art object portrait, “selfie” portrait


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Биография автора

Svetlana M. Gracheva, Saint Petersburg Repin Academy of Fine Arts

Dr. Habil. in Arts, Professor



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Как цитировать
Gracheva, S. M. (2021). Portrait in Contemporary Russian Painting in the Context of World Art: A Typology of the Genre. Вестник Санкт-Петербургского университета. Искусствоведение, 11(4), 636-648. https://doi.org/10.21638/spbu15.2021.404
Изобразительное искусство