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Boris Sveshnikov — artist of the first row from the sixties generation, painter, graphic artist, illustrator. Sveshnikov entered the history of Russian art with his «camp suites» or «gulag art» of the 1950’s and 1960’s. This early stage of his work was connected with dramatic pages of the biography: arrest on charges of «anti-Soviet propaganda» and eight years spent in prison and camps. The painting «Name day (Two ladies)» was created in 1970, when the artist returned to Moscow, became a member of the USSR Union of Artists, worked as an illustrator in Goslitizdat.
The «Name day» — an expressive example of the artist's picturesque system. The space of the picture is saturated with details, but it is difficult to reconstruct and describe the plot. The name leaves an opportunity to "complete" the plot – a meeting on the occasion of the holiday of one of the heroes. But the picture does not have the task of «telling» the viewer a story, it is built on the principle of illusion, in which any «illogicality» and collision are possible.
For example, the lady on the right is dressed as if she is in the middle of a winter landscape, while the lady on the left, as it were, exists in the space of the interior. Characters do not look at each other, but the movements of their hands build a silent dialogue. Heroes are separated from the background by an invisible plane, which is denoted only by crossed lines resembling a window frame. The still life on the table forms a mysterious symbol: a frog (a frequent character on Sveshnikov's canvases) tries to scramble onto a glass with a rowan branch. There is a version that the animal is associated with the image of the toad from the banks of the river of the Styx river of the dead from the work of Zygmunt Krzyżanowski "The Bridge over the Styx" (1931), and refers to the theme of death and the other world.
The coloristic solution of the picture with gradations of blue and silvery-gray complements the general atmosphere of "silence" and contemplation. Work in small strokes, approaching pointillism, is at the heart of the painter's technique. The aligned contour lines sharply delineate the figures and objects, making them emphatically expressive: in the study of the faces and hands of the characters, one can guess about the artist’s wide experience in working with graphics. All this reveals Sveshnikov as an artist, for whom «making» and completeness of the painting were extremely important qualities. The creation of the work was a complete analogue of the creation of another, his own reality for Sveshnikov : «The whole pathos of my pictorial and graphic activity is that I'm leaving in the plane of paper and canvas and live there». V