Main | Art magazine | Why in the painting "Summer" the artist changed the boy into a girl? Bright artwork by Vyacheslav Zhemerikin.
Why in the painting "Summer" the artist changed the boy into a girl? Bright artwork by Vyacheslav Zhemerikin.

Why in the painting "Summer" the artist changed the boy into a girl? Bright artwork by Vyacheslav Zhemerikin.

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Vyacheslav Zhemerikin (1942-2005) was a Russian artist who worked in the style of socialist realism and wrote many remarkable paintings, many of which have not lost their relevance to this day. Zhemerikin did not stop only at glorifying the Soviet reality, although he did it skillfully, it is enough to recall his famous series of paintings about the construction of BAMA, highly appreciated by Geliy Korzhev himself.

Nadya on duty

Perhaps there was some attempt to imitate Deyneka's artworks, because of the abundance of monumental forms and pure bright strokes, but the very spirit of people's unity before a big, romantic and seemingly really important work is wonderfully conveyed, and you sincerely believe that all these girls and guys did not come in vain and their labor enthusiasm will not be trampled by the collision with reality.


But Zhemerikin could write not only agitations, he had a series of paintings dedicated to World War II, historical, genre paintings, landscapes, including artwork in the style of late Soviet Impressionism, where he paid special attention to light and the state of nature.


Critics highly appreciated his landscapes, noting that Zhemerikin managed to abandon the usual schemes and stereotypes. His brushwork is light and dynamic, and the landscape seems to be painted by chance, as in the best artworks of the Impressionists, reflecting the here-and-now moment, the current state of nature, but at the same time carefully constructed compositionally.

Summer Day

But, perhaps, he was best at rural domestic sketches, such as the famous painting Summer. We will talk about it and why Zhemerikin decided to remake the boy facing us into a girl in this article.

Looking at this painting, many people who grew up in the Soviet Union have a feeling of pangs of nostalgia. Zhemerikin perfectly managed to depict a clear summer day, sun rays illuminating schoolchildren and students resting on summer vacation, who finally, after the school year, can relax and swim at the river. In the background, younger kids are playing ball, and three boys are watching them from above, probably from the village, who do not take the visiting "city kids" seriously.

Goats grazing a little further away, clothes left by someone - in general, an ordinary, rural summer landscape, simple and at the same time charming in its peaceful simplicity.


In the foreground, with their backs turned to the viewer, there are two girls who are looking around somewhat embarrassed, as if embarrassed to look directly at their interlocutor. There is some romantic uncertainty in their pose, but at the same time a slight flirtatiousness, a desire to please the interlocutor.

City of Gorky. Microdistrict

And facing the viewer is another girl, much more self-confident than her friends. Short hair, wide-spread legs, direct and bold look directly at her friends standing in front of her - it seems that the artist initially wanted to paint a boy who tries to flirt with two girlfriends, but then, for some reason, changed him into a girl. Thankfully, there was not much to change - just a little longer hair, a few changes to the figure and draw a bra. Perhaps the strict art commission intervened in the case, which saw in this plot some kind of obscenity - as a Soviet kid, but trying to flirt with two girls at once, out of order. Or maybe the commission thought it was indecent that a half-naked guy and girls were just chatting on the beach, so they ordered to change the picture. The whole point is that in the past, up to 1950-1960 on village beaches guys and girls always bathed separately, because many simply did not have bathing suits, and young girls did not wear bras. Thus, numerous nudes of bathers largely come from life.

Summer on the river.

But in 1974, when this picture was painted, everything changed. Swimsuits had appeared, mores had become somewhat simpler, and the cohabitation of boys and girls on the beach was no longer a surprise to anyone. It is possible that Zhemerikin saw a similar plot in life. However, the commission had its own opinion on everything.

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