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Strawberries and cream

A sweet picnic

Svyatoslav Ryabkin's "Strawberries and cream" picture (80x80 cm) represents a "summer comfort time", with these words the artist has described his framework. A girl is sunbathing lying on a minesweeper and then she is going to eat some strawberries with the cream.


She cares about her health and knows the 8 benefits of strawberries. But she does not give up the sweetness of the cream that makes this moment even more delicious!

Strawberries are special and they can be used in different recipes, both sweet and salty. In particular, I am crazy for (and I love cooking) this delicious recipe: risotto with strawberries! A delicacy to be enjoyed in the good company!


And I love picnic: get together with friends, stay outdoor, lie in the sun and enjoy the gifts of the nature is really fantastic! Here you can find the ranking of the 10 best picnic in the world. Without going too far, I remember the amazing picnic in April in Trevi (in Umbria, an italian land). You could stay near poppies and olive trees, listen to the music and take part in workshops for three days of fun and relaxation! Have you ever gone there?


In "Strawberries and cream" the girl has prepared a little picnic with some strawberries (washed and put into a bowl) and the cream (in another bowl). She has leaned everything on a white tablecloth, white like her outfit. Red and white alternate playfully on the canvas. The green lawn is on background and a little of grass was carried by the wind on the tablecloth. It makes the sense of movement in the frame. The grass seems soft because it is represented by irregular strokes of color that in some areas become very dense. In your opinion has the artist spread the colour quickly? I think so. Finally, the colour touches orange, light blue and pink remind me of some tender flowers here and there. It is a bucolic tranquility moment! The girl will enjoy the juicy strawberry with the cream and in the meantime she thinks of tips and tricks for a perfect laundry that her grandmother handed her. Do you know them even you, dear Readers?


The girl is lying in a relaxed position but her body is in a wrong posture and her back is very crooked. If this position becomes an habit she can have bad consequences on her health! The right position on the ground to avoid back pain is put on your hip with your legs bent to avoid bending your spine in incorrect posture. So interesting!


In this painting the artist Ryabkin surprises us with a dark-haired female figure. She is very different from the blonde women usually depicted in his works. Already in 1912 the painter Gustav Klimt had depicted a young girl with brown hair, dark eyes and red lips in a white dress in a meadow near a white tablecloth. It is the "Portrait of Mäda Primavesi" which was exhibited at the Neue Galerie in New York until January 2017 at the exhibition "Klimt and the Women of Vienna's Golden Age, 1900-1918". Both Ryabkin and Klimt wanted to convey the feelings of peace and beauty in their works with a girl protagonist. In "Strawberries and cream" the barefoot girl is lying free while the girl depicted by Klimt is posing with her feet well fixed on the ground and one hand on a hip. In the Ryabkin canvas white and green dominate and there is some fruit on the tablecloth instead, in the Klimt's canvas white and lilac predominate and there are some flowers on the tablecloth. In both paintings the artists have used large strokes of full and dense colour.


Also Amos Loffreda, a Venetian contemporary artist, has chosen some young women in his original modern works to represent the concept of feminine charm, a Greek word that means "enchantment". He seeks the charm that enchants and that goes beyond the beauty. These expressive and intense faces seem to speak to the observer and they were born after a long path of different inspirations: from the interpretation of photographs, along the study of the bodies and female faces until the Japanese painting. Mr. Loffreda told me that his paintings are a synthesis of a wider feeling to convey a strong emotion in a charming atmosphere. Tell us what is the fascination for you, just a word! For me it is... an emotional kidnapping!


"Strawberries and cream" was painted in 2013 and exhibited in Spinea (near Venice) at the Galleria Villa Simion twice. The last one it was showed during the exhibition "Beyond the horizon" (in spring 2017). I still remember the festive atmosphere and the public comments of people about the great relaxation that this picture conveys.

By Elena Sechet