Museums and Art

“Fortune Teller”, Frederic Bazil - description of the painting

“Fortune Teller”, Frederic Bazil - description of the painting

Fortuneteller - Frederic Basil. 61x46 cm

Frederic Bazille belonged to the youth of impressionism. It was he who stood at the origins of the new aesthetics, trying new means of expression and interpretation of colors.

The painting “The Fortune Teller” or, as it is also called “The Fortune Teller”, was painted in 1869, exactly one year before the tragic death of the painter on the battlefield, which for Basil turned out to be the Burgundy Forest near Bon-la-Roland.

The work touches on one of the intriguing topics - fortune telling. The ability of some people to predict the future was of interest to artists of different generations, it suffices to recall the works of Vrubel, Caravaggio, Makovsky and others. Basil also did not stand aside.

However, the master surprises with his interpretation of this plot. Usually fortunetelling on cards is associated either with some mysticism, or with quackery, gypsies, but the painter shows us a completely ordinary young woman who thoughtfully looks at the cards laid out on the table.

She is dressed in a monophonic deaf dress, on which Basil masterfully conveyed the play of light. It seems that there is a window in front of the heroine, from which a not bright calm light pours. The folds of fabric and the shadows they leave are filigree.

The artist deliberately refused the background: behind the girl’s back there is a gray-white wall with vague circles on the left side of the background, which can be mistaken for tulle.

The fortuneteller’s face is very expressively depicted - tightly pressed lips, drooping eyelids, smooth forehead. She is thoughtful and seems completely absorbed in her thoughts. It’s even hard to say, the heroine herself lays out fortune-telling cards, or still a client sits in front of her, who simply did not get into the composition of the picture.

In color terms, the work is solved calmly and harmoniously. The dominant colors here are brown and gray, and only the red color on the cards slightly distracts attention.

Extreme attentiveness to the hero and his action with very accurate personal characteristics reproduced by bold sweeping strokes are the main features of this work, which testify to the great potential of the young artist, who he still could not fully reveal.


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