Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Sorrows of the Mother of God

Title: The Sorrows of the Mother of God

Artist: Mikhail Petrovich Botkin

Medium: Oil on Canvas

Size: tbd.

Date: c. 1870

Location: tbd.

Mary, mother of Jesus, is depicted as forlorn. The three crosses used in the crucifixion are outlined against the setting sun, a reminder against the orange glow on the horizon. Mary, too, holds reminders of the trauma: left over linen and the crown of thorns are draped in her arms. She is a portrait of disbelieving grief.

Mikhail Petrovich Botkin (1839-1914) was an academically trained history painter, know for his Christian paintings and genre compositions. He came from a famous family in Russia. One of his brothers was a famous author, and another a brilliant. Botkin entered the Academy of Fine Arts in St Petersburg in 1856, but he left without finishing his studies there, and instead went to Italy using his own means. From there he also visited Germany, France, and Spain, studying the techniques of the artists in these countries. Botkin also worked in business, and was a director of several firms, including the Russian Steam Navigation and Trade Society, the first Russian insurance society, and a St Petersburg commercial bank. The means earned from such activity allowed him to support public initiatives developing young artists. Botkin was an avid art collector and connoisseur, and paintings from his collection were carried to many exhibitions in Russia and all over Europe.

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