Adolescent girl (portrait of a girl)

The girl’s head is moulded in a calm, classic style, and her seriousness, uncharacteristic of a child, avoids any sentimentality in the image. Her densely-modelled face, protruding forehead, resolute stare, high stiff collar, and the erect and rigid carriage of the head come together to produce a self-sufficient, internally complex and emotionally stable image. The sole departure from symmetry, such as the tress of hair on the right tucked behind the ear, softens the image but only slightly. This deliberate casualness speaks of the rationality of an individual who is capable of setting goals and achieving them rather than of levity and childish unruliness. Careful modelling, with the details nearly graphically outlined, is combined with the clear forms of the face to create an impression of light breathing and the radiance of youth. A word so shallow and neutral as “girl” does not seem apt in describing an image so solemn and imposing as this one. “Adolescent girl”, however, as a phrase with references to the history of culture and serious ethical issues, agrees very well with the image whose unquestionable realistic likeness opens up the horizons characteristic for a generalized image for contemplation.


Brief annotations to the image

ADOLESCENT GIRL is a youthful girl. In old Russia, children up to the age of three were called infants, from three to seven – babies, and from seven to 15 – adolescents.