Nude Woman Seen from Behind. 1944
Oil on canvas
Valentina Diffine-Christi was very lucky with her teachers. She studied with Leonard Turzhansky and Konstantin Yuon, and then entered Sergei Gerasimov’s course at the Surikov Institute. Yet the greatest impact on the artist was her husband, the talented painter Evgeny Diffine - he predicted a great future for his wife, although he himself never lived to see it, dying at the age of twenty eight . It was under his influence that Valentina Diffine-Christi’s art began to include a complex play of textures, free colour modelling, and interesting spatial effects. Beneath a thick layer of colour her paintings can feel somewhat academic and carefully constructed, with space and shape following the laws of three-dimensional depth, but her style is also open and free. "Nude Woman Seen from Behind" is an intimate picture; although we do not see the model’s face, her feelings are clear. During World War II, the Diffines were students when the Surikov Institute was evacuated to Samarkand. Away from the capital's authorities, the most talented artists of those years—including Sergei Gerasimov, Vladimir Favorsky, Igor Grabar and Robert Falk—created conditions that allowed young artists, and themselves, to experiment. The impact of this environment is felt in the paintings of Valentina Diffine-Christi.