Red kerchief


The female portrait is distinguished by a very restrained, laconic style, in which the forms and the treatment of volumes evoke the works of ancient art with their air of timelessness. Remaining within the limits of realistic likeness, the artist strives to achieve a more generalized structural definiteness of the forms akin to primitive geometrism. Lika a sphinx staring into eternity, the young woman with a stern face seems to be learning a truth known to her alone. The tightly-set mouth and the forceful jaw-line lend to her harmonious appearance a grain of harshness. The exertion of will power is at the source of the woman’s purposeful internal dynamics, at the foundation of her active life, and this makes the viewer forget at once about the initial impression of transcendental motionlessness of the image. The kerchief on the head betrays the direction of this activity: an enthusiast and an innovator of the period immediately following the Bolshevik revolution, she is a woman of “liberated labour” who shook herself free of doubts and who knows very well her attitudes and interests. But this portrait ought not to be viewed as a narrow-minded allegory of a certain society and historical period. The red kerchief is quite a comprehensive symbol, and this is a generalized image of a beautiful and strong-spirited woman capable of real action.

 

Brief annotations to the image

RED KERCHIEF is a headdress, an attribute of the Russian woman of 1920-1930th years, which designate its participation in revolution and new time (like the participants of Great French revolution, who wore the headdresses of red color). It was some kind of a symbol of the active woman, the member of the Komsomol, afterwards became a red tie of pioneers. The red color used to be a strong reference to a banner of revolution and its victories.