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Parade in the reign of Paul the First

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1907, 82×59 cm • Watercolor, Gouache, Paper, Cardboard

Description of the artwork «Parade in the reign of Paul the First»

"Parade under Paul I" included in the "Russian cycle" Benoit. The paintings of this series he wrote in the period from 1907 to 1910 They were intended for publication for students "Russian history in pictures" ("Pictures on Russian history"), Joseph Knebel, one of the largest and most popular at the time book publishers. In this edition you can meet illustration Apollinariya and Victor Vasnetsov, Boris Kustodiev, Lancer.

Before us – winter's day, roll in the snow. The whole background is a newly built Mikhailovsky castle. Right on the horse the Emperor himself, followed by his sons. Left distraught by the terror of soldiers marching to Paul I. it is Worth remembering that the era of Paul I, was an era of meaningless drill and Imperial tyranny. "...executed without fault, and rewarded without merit; took away the shame of execution, rewards – charm; slew on the shelves of our noble military spirit (...) and replaced it with the spirit of caprella. Heroes, accustomed to victories, was taught to March"– describes the reign of Paul I, Nikolai Karamzin in "Notes on ancient and new Russia in its political and civil relations."

The second plan continues the same story – the marching regiments, running behind them soldiers, podhvatit on the fly fallen hats. The picture may not boast of the transfer of the senses, and attention to detail we are here to discover. It is obvious that the artist writes primarily action, not landscape or architecture. The place is recognizable, and that's all that can be said about him. Event part, of course, prevails over the situation. In fact, before us a literary plot. Art critic Sergei Makovsky compared the picture with the "town in the snuffbox with tin soldiers". Illustrations in the publication do Knebel was accompanied by long verbal descriptions.

Himself Benoit said that writing historical paintings for him – an inexplicable, completely illogical pleasure. With all my heart hated slave system and military drill, he felt a strange pleasure when it is transferred to the canvas: "Yes, I and this dark day and this wet snow, and this grey cold – hate it, but I like to revive the memory and to depict in paintings such visions".

Author: Alain Esaulova
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About the artwork
Subject and objects: Genre scene
Style of art and technique: Art Nouveau, Watercolor, Gouache

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