Still Life with Grapes and Teapot. 1970
Oil on cardboard
“Still Life with Grapes and Teapot” – the title sounds straightforward. But look at the abundance of vibrant, luscious life in the painting! Its strong, exuberant colours are a passionate ode to life - the boldly painted pears, plums and grapes leap to the eye. The pomegranates in the centre of the composition are masterfully sculpted with multidirectional brushstrokes of various complex hews of red that seem to change in the light. This colourful fruit collage is further enhanced by its reflections in the varnished surface of the table, while the deep orange and blue tones remind the viewer of an Oriental carpet. The elegant shape of the teapot is also reminiscent of the East. Along with the ultramarine blue vase and the tall glass, they make this composition a veritable feast for the eyes. Gorlov experienced life with unmitigated joy, which was remarkable considering the circumstances of his life. He grew up in an orphanage, and it was only after he ended up in a so-called “labour commune” that he began to paint. When he was twenty, Igor Grabar saw some of his works and got Gorlov admitted to the Moscow Art Institute. Gorlov’s landscapes, still lifes, and portraits are all filled with vibrant colours. Almost without exception, they are saturated with sun. The artist worked exclusively en plein air – he painted for hours at a time, focusing on the subtlest nuances of colour. Nevertheless, his style remained unique, his brushstrokes untamed and expressive.