Bread. About the painting

Written by Irina Birulya

Until her very last days my grandma treated bread in a very special way, with respect and rare tenderness. With us, bread was always the king of the table, it was The Bread. Before putting bread on a plate she would first cover the plate with a linen cloth she marvelously embroidered herself and only then would she carefully place slices of bread onto the fabric... And sometimes she would say while caressing a rough loaf: "So smelling today" meaning it had a particularly aromatic and tasty breath.

I painted my first still life with bread when I was in art school and it turned out to be a farewell. Bread slices lay on a cloth the way my grandma would put them, even the knife was exactly as my grandma’s… but the school term ended, the model composition got disassembled, and the grandma passed away. It was in 1954...

Then there was a lot of other bread still lifes: bread on a cutting board, bread on a windowsill, morning bread, bread at night... And for some reason I always wanted to slow down my work, to take my time to get into more details: small cracks, flour patina, crumbs, notches on the knife blade, dried crust, cracked cutting board... These precious details gradually evolved into an image of something everlasting and enduring, as if in touch with Eternity...

And my grandma had miraculously survived the dire war-time famine in Leningrad…

contemporary art
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