Study of a kneeling woman from behind
  • Franz Skarbina
  • Berlin 1849 - 1910
  • Study of a kneeling woman from behind
  • Pen and grey ink, grey wash over pencil, on cardboard
  • estate stamp (Lugt 2289) on the lower right
  • 325 × 243 mm
Private collection, Hamburg

The Study of a Kneeling Girl, whose wrinkled dress may have itself been the impetus for the portrayal of the figure, also makes apparent the artist’s constant interest in materiality. We see only the back view of a young woman, turned away from the viewer, as well as the shadows hazily apparent in the background. Skarbina flirted with the idea of drawing the kneeling girl barefoot, as evidenced by the small, in-depth study of her naked foot on the same sheet. Instead, however, he placed his creative focus on the overwhelming choppiness of the short-sleeved dress and the loosely falling hair of the figure depicted. Skarbina worked brilliantly with the play of light and shadow in the medium of ink-brush drawing as well, placing the opulence of the cascading drapery and the long, open locks into the scene with clear virtuosity. This vibrant interplay of fine pencil drawing, light pen strokes and masterful washes thus generates an especially sensual and lively effect that suggests that the viewer might even be able to hear the crinkling of the fabric. It was not so much the realities but rather the subjective appearance of the model that Skarbina made the constitutive factor of his image. This depiction of the dynamics of a fleeting moment forcefully marks him as a modern artist.