A family is a primordial social institution that preserves the morals of previous generations. And it is the father of a family who sets an example of appropriate behavior. In ancient times, artists often used the image of the mother, but since the 19th century the image of the father has been turned to as well. The importance of fatherhood has gradually changed in different countries. The painting of Elena Yukhnevich aims to draw our attention to those changes.
The central character of the picture is an elderly man dressed in richly decorated clothes. A white chiton decorated with gold ornaments is worn over a blue shirt with a gilt edged crew neck. In his left hand, the man holds a book in an expensive casing: soft red suede with leather insets and precious stones. Considering its luxurious attire, the book contains important information. The fingers of his right hand are frozen in a gesture as if inviting us to listen carefully. He seems to draw the viewers' attention to what he's going to tell, to share some information he has got from the book. The gesture says: “Attention! Listen! Embrace the voice of reason!”. His symmetrical and regular facial features are slightly subdued with grey hair and a beard. There is an anxious wrinkle on his forehead, lips are pursed, the moustache ends are pointing downwards, which makes the general image of the elder more dramatic. His brows are frowned, and the piercing blue eyes look warning rather than disapproving. He is strict and gracious at the same time.
Through the image of the elderly man with a wise look in his eyes eager to bring people to their senses, the artist tried to express her attitude to the fatherhood institution. The father's status has always been high and inviolable for her. However, times have changed, fatherhood has become optional. Today men are free to choose. This has increased the number of single men and children raised without fathers. It has also led to leveling the role of the father in the family. The global trends are that more and more children are being raised in unregistered marriages or in one-parent, often female, families.
The Father painting is not just an artistic masterpiece. It urges us to see the father's status from a new angle, to solve the problem of social and psychological fatherlessness.
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27/31/4 cm, oil painting on linden wood