This wonderful roundel portrait features a woman dressed all in black, perhaps signifying that she is in mourning. A black veil is skilfully painted over the top half of the woman’s face with the folds of the fabric just being visible. Despite this covering, the facial features of the woman remain clear and her glistening eyes stare directly back at the viewer.
The background of the work shows a forest scene with suggestions of trees, a house structure and even figures – such a busy background is quite unusual for a portrait of this type. As a result the woman sits on a separate plane from the scenes behind, creating the impression that the subject of the painting is somewhat isolated. This, in itself, could be a further comment on the grief that the woman may be currently experiencing.
This exquisite work is placed in an intricate gilt frame and square coral cushion mount.
Not much is known about the artist Bentsel Danilovich Kremer and little documentation of his career as an artist can be found.
Born in Russia in 1861, Bentsel Danilovich Kremer was a student auditor at the Academy of fine Arts at the age of 17. He was then a pupil of the Academy of Arts from 1882 to 1885. Here he received two large and two small silver medals. In 1885 the title of class artist of 3 degrees and in 1889 the title of class artist of 2 degrees.