Varvara Ivanovna Ladomirsky (1800)
Copyright held by Columbus
Museum of Art
Thanks to Kevin J. Kelly for the color version
of this painting.
The beautiful Varvara is dressed in the Greco-Roman style
so popular after 1795 in Europe. The one-shouldered tunic here is
trimmed with a Greco-Roman pattern. Jewelry adds to our sense of this
woman's high style and wealth. The very casualness of the hair style combined
with the necklace, tunic pin, armlet, and beaded cestus or girdle tied
under the breast conveys a sense of complete familiarity with luxury.
The painting, moreover, captures a smokey sexuality that is still potent
today in an age in which near-nudity is commonly seen. The ocean background
seems to be a subtle link to Venus, and the sensuous Russian beauty a