Self-portraits occupy a special place in the work of Victor Popkov. The artist does not simply reproduce nature – he seeks to match himself against the mood of his time, to become typical of the age. This work allows viewers to trace analogies with the cinema of the 1960s. The picture is similar to the poetry of Soviet films of those years about country life or the conquerors of the North. The ideals of the severe style were close to Popkov - its laconic color schemes, the flattening of space, the pursuit of symbolism and a generalized imagery. The artist portrays himself from a highly expressive perspective, viewed slightly from below, as if he is caught in suspended animation. In the picture there is no narrative or motion. On the one hand, it is a reflection of time and destiny, but on the other a hymn to the coming thaw. It is still quite cold (as indicated by the subject’s red ears and nose), but the piercingly blue sky and dazzling sun leave no doubt that spring is already near.


  • Title: Spring is coming. Self-portrait
  • Creator: Viktor E. Popkov (1932–1974)
  • Date Created: 1963
  • Physical Dimensions: 62 x 74 cm
  • Subject Keywords: Spring, Popkov, Self-portrait, Tree, Portrait, Realism, Severe Style, Freedom, Happiness
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: The Institute of Russian Realist Art

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