The turquoise walls and coral-like touches of pink, orange and red lend this work by the Polish-born painter Gustav Budkovsky an underwater intensity, as if the drawing room in which the figures gather has been submerged. Though painted with a restraint appropriate for a study of grief, there’s a refreshing vitality to the figures’ expressions. The widow’s sorrowful, downturned face is counterpointed by the hopeful gaze of her child; a doleful scene over which is cast the wizened glare of the nurse.
Much like the artist’s 1859 painting A Doctor’s Visit, currently held in the State Art Museum, Nizhny Tagil, Young Widow With Child is a carefully composed yet emotionally-charged work in a beautifully realised interior setting. It was completed around the year 1854, shortly after the artist returned to Russia from Paris. The work won Budkovsky the title of Academician, and in 1871 was exhibited in Dresden in an international exhibition.