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As with the Romani girl, Konrad Mägi also probably painted this portrait of a young Romani man in the late winter of 1915 in Viljandi, (see Romani Girl, Art Museum of Estonia). Unlike the girl, the man is of Russian origin, as he is not as dark-complexioned as the girl. He, too, appears to be from the upper echelons of Romani society, as indicated above all by his costly blazer. Zalina Dabla, the chairwoman of the Estonian Roma, says this may even signify that the model is the chieftain’s son. The head covering is a usual part of Romani sartorial culture; his moustache is a cultural norm, as it distinguished a man from a boy and was a symbol of masculinity and never shaved off. The tapestry behind his back is not hand-woven but a wall covering from Russia with a fairly ordinary pattern.
The painting is from the First World War era when many Roma fought in the tsarist army. As a result, they had a relatively good reputation and the state gave them horses as a token of gratitude. It is impossible to determine whether this particular man’s wealth could have been due to services rendered in the war.