Friday, February 11, 2011

Molti Ritratti: Anna Akhmatova

Anna Akhmatova, born Anna Andreyevna Gorenko (1889-1966) was a Russian poet who failed to flee the country following the Bolshevik takeover and suffered for that mistake. The sorry details are summarized in the Wikipedia entry here.

Anna's appearance was -- how shall I say it -- distinctive, her face dominated by a beak of a nose. According to Wikipedia, this did not prevent her from accumulating a small host of admirers including the likes of Boris Pasternak the writer and Amedeo Modigliani the painter. Little doubt that intelligence, charm and a tall, willowy figure compensated for appearance defects.

Moreover, Anna was portrayed, as can be seen below. I wanted to include a Modigliani depiction, but failed to find anything that is known for sure to have been Anna. Whereas some of his paintings of nudes incorporated tall, slender figures, those paintings omitted the Akhmatova nose. Might Amedeo have discretely camouflaged his subject? Given that Anna was newly married at the time, perhaps he did.

Please set me straight in Comments if my conjecture is off the track.


Photo of Anna Akhmatova

A more flattering photo

Drawing, unknown artist
The Internet has this image flipped both ways. I have no clue whether the original had Anna facing to our left or our right. For what it's worth, Wikipedia has her facing to the left. Not that this really matters....

By Nikolai Tyrsa

By Olga Della Vos Kardovskaya - 1914

By Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin - 1922

By Yiri Annenkov - 1924

By M. Sarian - 1946

By Nathan Altman - 1914
This is the best-known portrait of Anna -- the merest whiff of Cubism to catch the spirit of her angular features.

1 comment:

Hans said...

Very good post about Akhmatova, thank you ! We are Art Bloggers from Tbilisi

Best regards, Hans