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The group portrait "Gymnasts of the USSR" was made by Dmitry Zhilinsky in the period 1964-1965. The artist’s work is a decorative and monumental image, which combines the principles of depth and flatness. The painting was made using the tempera technique according to levkas, the use of which requires impeccable drawing. Thanks to the artist’s skill in applying complex technical techniques, an active color combination creates a cheerful effect. Against the background of the saturated red color of the floor, the slender figures of the gymnasts look especially impressive.
The presented work of Zhilinsky, like the rest, is distinguished by carefully drawn details and extraordinary accuracy of reproduction. Thanks to the expressiveness of forms, foreshortenings, gestures, emotions of the characters depicted, the artist harmoniously conveys to the audience the spiritual qualities of the athletes. Such qualities of a human and champion character are emphasized as courage, perseverance, and exactingness towards oneself. The image represents sports prowess. The heroes of the picture are strong-willed, internally collected, serious.
The portrait composition is complexly built and dynamic, written by the master in a spiral manner. The portrait depicts real Soviet champions: on a close-up, Boris Shakhlin and Yuri Titov, who later became the head of the international gymnastics federation, on a secondary plan is a portrait of world champion Polina Astakhova. Zhilinsky clearly and subtly portrayed the individuality of each hero in a group portrait. The composition depicts the individual setting of sports thoughts and feelings, which can be seen in the faces of the characters. The images depicted give the viewer a sense of clarity and vigor.