Artistic skill does not imply mastered technique only, but also strong attention to details, human emotions. The very first memory of any person is often associated with a mother's smile. A child learns to reproduce emotions by observing mother's facial expressions. Stepanov shows that only if a mother has her own inner world, she can bring up an emotionally healthy child.
The composition of the picture divides it into 4 parts united by one idea: the image of mother and child. The women on the left side of the painting are wearing rich attires, predominantly of gold, pink, and red color, which are edged with precious stones. There are crowns on the top of their veiled heads. The women on the right are dressed in simpler clothes of golden tones, their heads covered with headscarves. Each of the mothers holds a child in their hands. Facial expressions of the main characters, as well as the positions of the children are strikingly diverse.
In the top left picture we can see a semi-smile on the woman's face turned to a boy talking animatedly. In the second picture, the mother looks severely and intently at her son who, judging by the crown on his head, is the heir to the throne, and therefore, it is worth listening to what he is saying. In the top right picture, the mother wonders at how intelligent her son is who is now reading important things to her out loud. In the fourth picture, the sensitive boy embraces his sad mother to comfort her.
The history of the painting is connected with the personal experience of the artist observing the environment his own children were growing up in. He noted how important it is to nurture emotional intelligence in children. Many of today's children cannot understand the emotions of others, manage their own emotional states and show these emotions. Stepanov assigns an important role not only to developing logical thinking and personal enrichment of children, but also to mastering the abilities of emotional intelligence, which is the key to their success in life. The artist believes that mothers should begin to teach their children from their very birth to control their feelings, to understand and accept the feelings of others, to put themselves to other people's shoes, to sympathize with others.
The women's and children's facial expressions are depicted skillfully and professionally. Their emotions are so convincing that one cannot help but starts feeling the same. The artist's ability to accurately convey the mood and conduct an intimate dialogue with the audience made it possible to create such a unique masterpiece.
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27/31/4 cm, oil painting on linden wood