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Pifferari in front of the Madonna Image - Karl Pavlovich Bryullov. 53.5 x 42.5 cm
Pifferari, wandering Italian musicians playing piffero (a kind of pipe), stopped at the entrance to the chapel. The old man and the boy in the simple clothes of the Italian poor - colored cloaks and wide-brimmed hats - reverently look at the image of the Madonna hanging on the wall. The rays of the bright southern sun are also felt in the shade, reflected on the icon, on the stone wall of the chapel, on the faces of the musicians. The charm of the radiant Italian nature was conveyed by Bryullov with amazing authenticity and spontaneity.
Sending in 1822 Karl Pavlovich Bryullov together with his brother Alexander (future architect) to Italy to get acquainted with the works of art classics, the Society for the Promotion of Artists provided their retirees with instructions that said: “It should be noted that now people, unfortunately, prefer landscapes, entrails, rural scenes and all that that ... called "Tableax de genre" (genre paintings. - Ed.). Thus, the Society warned the artist, shortly before graduating from the class of historical painting of the Petersburg Academy, from hobbies unworthy of the high rank of the painter. And, nevertheless, in the first period of his stay in Italy, Karl Bryullov writes precisely genre scenes, “entrails,” and is interested in landscape. He creates the paintings “Morning” and “Noon” during these years, depicts scenes from folk life - “Pilgrims”, “Vespers”, “Pifferari”, etc.
Working from nature in the open air poses new challenges for the young artist, but he does not change the basic principles of the academic school. His paintings are written in a resounding local color, the shapes are outlined by an accurate pattern, the composition is strictly thought out and verified. The poor clothes of his wandering musicians seem beautiful in the rays of the southern sun. The beauty and strict nobility of forms remain the main thing for the graduate of the Academy with all his interest in transmitting a directly observed scene from the life of a simple Italian people.