Zinaida Serebriakova (nee Lanceray) was fortunate to be born in the late XIX century in a family with deep artistic tradition - they were nearly all painters, architects, poets or writers. It is no surprise then that young Zina decided to follow a similar career and went to study under Repin in her native Kharkov. She then traveled and studied at Italy and France. Serebriakova returned to Russia and stayed there despite her growing European fame and the October Revolution. Widowed with four children, she stayed true to her style while everyone else was creating in constructivism manner.
She managed to escape to Paris in 1924, yet her children stayed in the Soviet Union. Two of them joined them in the next four years. The two that stayed in USSR stayed there for the next 36 years.
Despite her tragic history, Serebriakova's paintings are full of beauty that she admired in both people and nature. They are full of light and lightness, painted in an effortless colours that indicate happiness and love. Reflect upon these short moments when we fully realize we're alive - that striking consciousness in ordinary moments. These moments are not beautiful because they are ordinary and perfect, but because we perceive them as ordinary and they SHOULD be ordinary, but they aren't. Like eating a breakfast without hurrying. Like smiling to oneself in a mirror. Like creating.
The painting with four children is however different. It meant to represent the painter's children after being orphaned.