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Nelidova - maid of honor of the imperial court, a woman of extraordinary intelligence, ease of character and courage. Easily converging with people, she effortlessly made useful acquaintances, made friends where, it would seem, no one could have found them, and could even reassure Paul I when he fell into hysteria and began to run amok. It happened that she protected the empress from the angry emperor.
In the picture she is depicted quite young, even before her expulsion from St. Petersburg, even before the unpleasant rumors about her and Paul. She recently graduated from the institute (Smolny Institute of Noble Maidens), her whole life is yet to come, and she is dressed in a theatrical dress, in which pupils happened to dance during performances. Typically, portraits of those times seem solemn and strict, with all the regalia, and always with a stern look at the viewer.
Nelidova is depicted in a dance - this can be seen in all her pose. The legs are crossed, the hands make a circular motion, as if outlining an imaginary circle, the body relative to the legs goes back, the head is slightly tilted to the left. All this creates a feeling of screw movement, spiral twisting - it seems that in the next instant the young girl will spin in the picture, waltzing with herself.
She has a neat hat on her head, her hand holds a light transparent apron, and a sly, cheerful smile plays on her face. Like a mischievous girl, Nelidova looks at the artist, and with him the viewer, slightly askance, as if checking - is he angry that she is dancing? Will it stop or laugh?
Her eyes are brown, her hair is ashen, drawn into a high hairstyle. In all respects, it should seem quite adult, but it does not seem.
This is how she went through life - laughing, dancing, playing pranks and playing. Giving people a sense of joy and future happiness.