Portrait is a demanding genre. Some artist set as their first priority the possibly of exact resemblance, executing the so-called “photography of a poor person”. The aim of such style is to create a picture with the value almost equaling that of a document, according to which it would be possible to identify a person and which could later be of help upon remembering. Then come some other artists, for example cartoonists, who try to emphasize some characteristic features of the portrayed person, emphasizing it in such a special way that we actually get one narrow angle of vision.
Still, besides these authors there also exist portraitists, who are striving for something more. Many of them are in the first range looking for psychological exactness. The model has quite a peaceful and not very expressive face, but still the artist is trying to grasp some subtle spiritual shimmers and is trying to render them. At this pint becomes of importance the fact, how good is the artist at knowing people. Are the ideas he is offering boring or enchanting? Does he really want to grasp just an expressive glance or is he trying to pass something deeper, something really characteristic?
Opposite them are placed these artists, for whom a portrait is a pretext - and a pretext especially for the possibility of dealing with strictly painting-related problems. Colour splashes, compositional nuances, etc. really do form a portrait, but it would not be admitted as a passport photo.
The approach of Nikolai Kormašov is positioned between these last two starting points. While painting a portrait, he has tried to search for the originality and generalization of the portrayed person in order to get as natural result as possible. So: nothing “thrilling”, but poeticizing of something common and simple that is also characteristic to other works by Kormašov. No wonder then that he has willingly painted his close acquaintances and friends, because in case of them he has also seen the other side of the coin. Not the plain and ugly one, but the common and ordinary one that becomes clear only after a long-term acquaintance. In this manner the paintings by Kormašov are also expressions of friendship to his close ones.
According to the artist’s words all the works at the exhibition are sketches and preliminary works either for the portrait of a concrete person or for another, bigger work. (By the way, he has also painted portraits as preliminary works for “Trapeza”, “Kalurid” (“Fishermen”), “Teetöölised” (“Road Builders”) and other museum works.) Portrait as an independent genre interested him in the 1960ies, later it has become for him more a “means for working”, as an intermediate stage of work.