Portrait in the interior
Nadezhda Liventseva, a pupil of the people’s artist of Belarus Leonid Schemelev, began to exhibit her works in the 70's. Not a single Belarusian exhibition can deal without her. Her works are in the National Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Figurative Art, Mogilev Regional Art Museum named after P.V. Maslenikov, Russian Art Fund, in private collections in Sweden, Germany, and England. Nadezhda Liventseva is an artist who considers a human face the most gracious art subject
There is a winter day outside the studio window of the portrait painter Nadezhda Liventseva. But the picture “Dream in a summer night” spreads summer chill: a young violinist is running to the blooming lilac instead of diligent musical lessons. It seems that everything is simple and clear. However, this picture should be interpreted. Sometimes the works wall off the viewer by subtlety of essence and escape of solution, however, talented works are so attractive because of their vagueness and implication.
A portrait is always a riddle, even if it is a self-portrait. Sometimes life is not enough to learn the inner world of a person. Perhaps, this is why we want to see ourselves from the outside.
“Do you often get orders for portraits?”
“More often than earlier. It is in vogue to know a family tree which also means to have portraits of ancestors and family. Our own picture is also able to attract. A man is a secret for himself. Besides, people want their grandchildren and the next generation to know their faces. Parents often order the portraits of their children. Children grow fast, they change. Sometimes fathers and mothers want to slow this process down and to imprint the charm of childhood.”
“Is it difficult to work with children?”
“I am glad to paint innocent and trustful children’s faces. I try to find original solutions. For example, here is the picture “With the wind.” A girl flies in the sky like a small golden cloud. Or like here — a girl sitting on a pony. Here is a young warrior with a sword wearing a big hat and huge boots: he is armed at all points and is ready for a battle.
Sometimes I paint the whole family. There are the other cases. Once an old man came to me, a war veteran. He asked me to paint a portrait of his wife. He brought her photo where she was young and beautiful. Such an impulse of soul inspires profound respect and speaks to the heart.”
“Do you portray by a photo?”
“Portraits by photos seem to be dilute. A photo imprints momentary expression which is often unnatural. Of course, there is a rare luck when a man feels at home in front of the photolens. Still, such a portrait is more superficial than works where people pose to a painter. For example, a sketch of a girl which I have recently painted in the international plain-air. It is live, warm, there is mood in it. It is difficult to achieve such a result when working with a photo.
It’s a pity that I don’t always manage to assure my clients to pose. It is difficult for them to understand that portraying is time-consuming and requires great physical and emotional forces. The fact, that the great Russian painter-portraitist Serov created his pictures within three months of daily work, is unable to
Though there are cases when the only way to paint is portraying by a photo. Once I became acquainted with a businessman from Iran. His wish was to paint a portrait of his small daughter who passed away. He brought a small black-and-white photography. He asked to portray her as if she was alive but to make it understandable that she is no longer with us. I couldn’t refuse this work because I understood that this portrait could have consoled him a little bit. I searched for a solution during a long time and painted a sweet laughing face against the background of the sky, a field, and a road. An angel, holding the girl’s hand, leads her beyond the horizon.”
“Do the clients consult you about the interior matching your works?”
“Oftener they don’t. However, if they started with the picture matching the color of wallpaper or furniture, I would have refused this order. I take the wishes, if any, into consideration. I have recently made a double portrait for newly-weds from Kazakhstan. She was in an old wedding dress and he was in a military uniform with epaulets and gilded weapon. Why not? It is also interesting for me to plunge into the atmosphere of the past.”
“Your art was represented by the picture “Captive to fogs” during the First Belarusian Biennale, which was held in autumn of the last year in Minsk Art Palace (an idea of this large-scale exhibition is to show the best recent works of all Belarusian painters, graphic artists, and sculptors). There is a slender female profile in the center. Is it an imaginary or a real character?”
“This is my acquaintance, a future art historian and a very interesting creative person. She and her husband wanted to open a cafй where art elite would come. She ordered two copies from the works of Modigliani to decorate the interior of this cafй. (Besides, Modigliani is one of my favorite painters). I enthusiastically set about copying: it is always interesting to run the show on the alien art cook-room and try to guess the secrets of the master.”
“Did you guess them?”
“I could have spent my whole life for this. You can’t be sure that you will achieve the goal.”
“Do you have works with which you can’t part under any circumstances?”
“Yes, I do. However, they are few. My friends-painters scold me for the fact that it is hard for me to part with my pictures. Many people think that an empty studio is an impetus to painting new works, but I can’t get accustomed to it.”