1883. Oil on canvas. The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia. Read Note.
Unknown Woman is the title the artist gave the picture. His contemporaries were scandalized by the painting, describing its subject as a “coquette in a carriage”, “women of that sort”, and a “product of the big cities”. Tretyakov refused to buy this depiction of an “immoral woman” for his gallery. The artist was sad that his viewers did not understand him and never recorded his own explanation of the painting. Later viewers saw in the woman Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and the Unknown Woman of Alexander Blok