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Waiting, Yuri Pimenov - Description of the Painting



Waiting - Yuri Ivanovich Pimenov. Canvas, oil.


Yuri Ivanovich Pimenov created the “Waiting" back in 1959, when his long and successful creative career was concluding, at the age of fifty-six. A native Muscovite, who sang the poetry of the new way of life and the simple day-to-day life of Soviet people, once again wrote the most talented genre painting showing ordinary everyday things.

The picture shows quite an ordinary polished table, which could actually be found in any poorly furnished flat of those times, with a black landline phone placed on it. In the background of the picture, one can observe a gray, gloomy landscape with overhanging clouds and raindrops on the window, and also the contours of new buildings, lost in the fog, rise in the distance.

The whole painting is written in dull gray-blue colors, with the only golden light from the lamp falling into the center of the table. The decor is rather modest, if not even spartan.

The mystery of the subject painting lies in the contradiction existing between its title and the position of the telephone handset. The very first association with this sad and rainy evening observed right outside the window and a lonely standing phone lies just on the surface - the invisible lyrical hero is implied waiting for a call. However, the position of the handset shown on the picture, removed from the lever, would not allow the call to go through: this is the case where a “busy” signal was usually given; and this was normally done if they did not want someone to call.

It should also be noted that the telephone conversation also could not happen while the handset rested on the table, as there was no speakerphone available yet. There was also the expression to "hang up", meaning to press the lever to end the conversation, and then put the phone in a position preventing the unpleasant conversation from resuming.

That is the reason why one can easily assume that the expectation depicted in the painting is not at all lyrical. It can show the outcome of a quarrel that took place because of a tense conversation, and the expectation concerns assumptions about what the opponent will do the future.
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