tefaniya Stanyuta, the People’s Artist of Belarus, is a kind of symbol of the Belarusian theatre. She lived a long and full life. She played dozens of roles in the Belarusian State Academic Theater named after Yanka Kupala. The actress worked there for more than 70 years. Many dedications were left to Stefaniya Mikhailovna, but the most famous portrait of the actress was made by her father Mikhail Stanyuta. It is one of the pearls in the collection of the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus.

The portrait was created in one single creative surge, freely and widely.

A young girl in a light simple dress enthusiastically looks somewhere into the distance. Her face framed by long braids descending directly to her knees. For the first time this work was displayed at the exhibition in 1923. It is considered the best work by Mikhail Stanyuta. He received an excellent art education in the famous Minsk Drawing School of Yakov Kruger and in the studio of artist Palmira Mrachkovskaya. He graduated from the Higher Artistic and Technical Workshops in Moscow. Mikhail Stanyuta became one of the leaders of the artistic process, a participant and an organizer of the first all-Belarusian exhibitions in the 1920s.

Most of the works he created before 1941 were lost or perished during the Great Patriotic War and the occupation of Minsk. The ‘Portrait of the Daughter’ miraculously survived, and it was returned from Germany in 1948.

The 1920s was the time of formation of the Belarusian art school. This is the time of the national revival, when many artists tried to decode the traditions of the past, to get the national culture to talk and to find a dialogue with it. In the ‘Portrait of the Daughter’ by Mikhail Stanyuta, one can clearly see the original stylization, national coloring and sources of a new modern style at the junction of professional and folk. The artist does not just paint his daughter from nature. He deliberately transforms her usual appearance in the spirit of the Art Nouveau era. The image of a mystery woman looking like a mermaid or a goddess was close to that time. Art Nouveau can be seen in a fantastic and theatrical action, in a pronounced linear rhythm and in decorative colors.

The image of young Stefaniya in this portrait overlaps with Symbolist poetry and theatrical performances. So, the image is easily filled with allegorical meaning and content.