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Portrait of Fyodor Chaliapin in the Role of Boris Godunov. 1912

Golovin Alexander,
Tempera, size paint, gouache, pastels, chalk, gold and silver foil on canvas.
211,5 x 39,5

State Russian Museum


Alexander Golovin created a series of portraits of Fyodor Chaliapin, conveying both the famous opera singer’s outer appearance and his stage images. Golovin’s theatrical portraits brightly express the theatrical action, conjuring up the musical phrase sounding on stage at that particular moment in time. Portrait of Fyodor Chaliapin in the Role of Boris Godunov is majestic and monumental; a pageant unfolding against a theatrical curtain. The subject’s sumptuous robe, embroidered with precious stones and golden threads, occupies a large part of the painting without distracting attention from the singer’s expressive face, which rounds off the composition. This tense image of Boris Godunov is psychologically rich and full of drama.

Author's Biography

Golovin Alexander

Golovin, Alexander Yakovlevich
1863, Moscow - 1930, Detskoe Selo (Leningrad Region)
Theatrical designer, painter, graphic artist. Studied under Illarion Pryanishnikov and Vasily Polcnov at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1881-89) and at the Academic de Filippo Colarossi (1889) and Academie Witti (1897) in Paris. Academician (1912). Member of the World of Art (1902) and the Union of Russian Artists (1903). Contributed to the exhibitions of the Society of Travelling Art Exhibitions (1893, 1895), Moscow Fellowship of Artists (1894, 1901-02), World of Art (1899-1903, 1906, 1911-12, 1924), Union of Russian Artists (1903-09, 1916), New Society of Artists (1907, 1908), Expositions Universelles in Paris (1900; gold and silver medals) and Brussels (1910), Esposizione Internazionale in Venice (1907) and Rome (1911) and the Exhibitions of Russian Art in Paris (1906) and Berlin (1906). Designed for the Bolshoi Theatre and Moscow Arts Theatre in Moscow, Mariinsky and Alexandrinsky Theatres in Si Petersburg and Sergei Diaghilev''s Saisons Russes (1908,1910).

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