Robert Henri’s “Celestina” is a portrait painting created in 1908 during the American Realism movement. Henri is considered one of the leaders of the Ashcan School and his work paved the way for twentieth-century American Realism artists. The painting is an oil reproduction and the original can be found at the National Gallery of Art.
“Celestina” depicts a woman wearing a turban and is devoid of trivial details. It focuses on hard realities of urban living, portraying a side street in New York covered in snow. This was a departure from romantic Impressionists’ urban snow scenes, which typically included more elaborate settings with emphasis on cheerful human activity.
Henri’s works were characterized by their truthful depiction of society’s less-fortunate individuals instead of idealized versions that romanticized poverty. “Celestina,” like many other portraits, had a significant emotional depth to it due to its focus on people who belonged to marginal communities.
In summary, Robert Henri’s “Celestina” offers an honest portrayal of societal elements quite different from those depicted elsewhere during his time period. By highlighting people who belonged to marginalized communities rather than focusing on idealistic portraits, he began paving the way for what would later become twentieth-century American realism art style.