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Portrait of Leo Tolstoy, Oil On Canvas by Mikhail Nesterov (1862-1942, Russia)

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Portrait of Leo Tolstoy

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This portrait of Louis-Francois Bertin was the first of Ingres’ paintings that was widely well-received. Although some critics decried its drab coloring and naturalism vulgar, the public was spellbound. The man in the painting, Louis-Francois, was a patron and friend of the artist, he thus accepted the commission of the portrait, as he rather painted historical paintings, as a favor to his acquaintance. Ingres’ impatience with the portrait got the best of him a number of times, when he broke down in tears at not being able to find a suitable pose for the old man. Bertin, the patron himself, would have to soothe the artist, until he was able to paint him again. Ingres was finally able to finish the portrait when he came across Bertin sitting at an outside café in the exact pose, after which he easily completed the portrait.
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Mikhail Nesterov

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