The Romantic aesthetic was largely a result of residual Neoclassicist and Baroque stylistic nuances. In Russia, ornamentation and complexity generally gave way to high emotionalism and a nearly palpable softness. Romanticism valued an intense aesthetic experience often inspired by emotion and nature.
Thus, a visual gentleness popularly characterized subject matter in portraiture. Often featuring a naturalistic representation of everyday life (as opposed to the previous heavily commissioned portraits of the Russian elite), portrait painters poetically depict the common man. For this reason, Romanticism in Russia ushers in a revolutionary and widely held notion: the individual is now a valuable measure of society.
Orest Kiprensky’s portrait of Alexander Pushkin portrays romantic suggestions of an individual personality. Early Romanticism and the classical reference of the statue in the background suggest realism and idealism found in Pushkin’s poetry.