The Samovar

Primary Creator
Painter Emil Carlsen
Height20 inches
StyleRealism (19th, 20th, 21st Century)
Width20 inches
Name of WorkThe Samovar
Production Date1920c.
Production Location

Current Location
United States
New Britain, CT
New Britain Museum of Art
Media Typesoil on canvas
General Notes

aka "Soren Emil Carlsen".
Style notes: Realism without being hard-edged.  Sometimes considered somewhat impressionistic, but without any sense of the medium itself (brushtrokes or coarse stylistic features); the softness and intimate textural qualities still are very exactly delineated.


A still-life of two bronze objects with a white vase on a table-like surface and a tonal, non-identified background. The dominant bronze samovar has brilliant blazing light reflections against its bulbous body, which is echoed in the bronze bucket below and next to the samovar. The small white vase in the foreground provides an amazing foil to the mottled and textured bronzework, by being this stunning white surface competing with the blazing reflections in the bronze for dominance, thus creating a remarkable visual balance.

Despite its small size, by being in front, the vase creates a sense of palpable depth in the painting. The lack of distinct table surface (i.e., its non-descriptness) and the same for the background enhances the visual power of the three objects to hold the viewer.

The three cardinal features of the painting are its immense light quality, its corresponding and related richness of texture on the curving surfaces, and the remarkable 3D aspect. These three are inseparable actually, since this still life is an organic, integrated work where all three of those features co-exist and reinforce each other.


The richness of light and the objects it caresses.  This is a paean to the richness of visual experience, but with the simplest of materials -- just a light source and two kinds of simple unadorned objects.

Emotional Sum or Sense-of-life

The world is full of textural richness worth looking at.

Context Information

The painter manages through this manipulation of light and material texture and great depth, to actually seem to paint "atmosphere".


still life