Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Annushka, the Serf from Russia
Here is something you don't see often. While looking up the Russian artist, Ivan Argunov, I came across this intriguing portrait of his. I immediately had to look up this young lady. Unfortunately, there was not much information out there, and the little I found only made me want to know more.
Her name was Annushka and Argunov painted her in 1767. Annushka was a Kalmyk girl, a group from western Mongolians which had its origins in central Asia. She was a serf just like Agunov; he belonged to Count Sheremetev and Anushka belonged to his daughter, Countess Varvara Sheremeteva. It is the countess' likeness which she holds in her portrait. From the little I was able to make out, it seems that Annushka and Varvara had a special relationship, and Varvara took it upon herself to educate the cute little Kalmyk girl.