University of Münster, Germany
Iconography is a memory carrier; it is a system of symbols that has been developed for generations and a necessary tool to read the actual picture content. In this regard portrait does not simply remind about a depicted person. Its iconography is a result of an intense and complex interaction of multiepochal pictorial heritage, of a dialogue between past and present, tradition and modernism, Russian and European art. Representational portraits of Zinaida Yusupova and Mikhail Morozov belong to the most interesting examples of such interferences. In my talk these images will be discussed in a pan-European context and compared to works by Velazquez, Gainsborough, Reynolds, Whistler, Manet and Zorn. The Yusupova portrait for instance reflects the influence of the representational portraiture of the 18th century as well as the tastes of the art nouveau. Again, in Morozov’s portrait the artist clearly manifests a traditional image of a monarch widely used during the past centuries. At the same time both pictures are outstanding examples of tonal painting that was very popular among Serov’s contemporaries.