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Barge haulers on the Volga

Painting, 1873, 131×281 cm

Description of the artwork «Barge haulers on the Volga»

Picture "Barge haulers on the Volga" Repin wrote without reading Nekrasov's "Reflections at a main entrance". However, when I read, I criticized. Nekrasov:

Go out to the Volga, whose moan is heard
Over the great Russian river?
This moan we have a song called -
That twine haulers go!..

Repin assured that about any songs, even like a moan, the haulers do not have to think. " visit, to sing at the met; even on holidays, even the evening before the fire pot sullenness and anger seized them," – assured Repin. Indeed, looking at the boatmen in the painting, we don't really can imagine them singing the song, whether it's lyrical or accusatory.

The scope of the genre, everyday pictures too small for Repin. Do not get it, neither "household" nor incriminating picture. Although initially the plans were just like that. One day, while walking with friends on the Neva, Repin saw barge haulers, and he was deeply struck by the contrast between them and the idle aristocratic crowd. In 1870, the year with friends, the artist went on a trip on the Volga, where he worked on the sketches for the "Boatmen" (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

"Boatmen" by Repin monumental, these dangling skinny people, it seems, the power and hopelessness of an entire people. Shining barge behind them – not just a ship with cargo, and that the world which after a while can no longer live in the old way. While symbolism as such are not fond of Repin. It haulers is exactly the boatmen, exhausted by pulling the strap guys. And dragging on their shoulders they are not allegory, but a real barge. Thus released from-under brushes of the artist, the picture is much grander than its original intent.

Shiny, almost festive landscape: Golden beach, clear sky, mirrored on the surface of the water in the distance is the ship. And, as if something alien – dark kicks from landscape chain boatmen. They seem to be a thing of another world. Boatmen from the depths of the canvas moving to the viewer. Their way is the plot. Can not see where they came from – they are the only shining landscape, he also found. And this is kind of inappropriate, weird and awkward chain of emaciated people moving through very bright, very festive for them the world.

"But what's that coming here? That dark, greasy, some brown stain that is creeping into the sun?" – Repin described his impressions from the first meeting with the haulers. He created his painting almost simultaneously with Savrasovym writing "Volga near Yuryevets". Both artists are that independent from each other engaged in a dialogue with "Barge Haulers" Vereshchagin.

The feature of the painting by Repin that the barge haulers in it's individualized, it's a separate people with its own history. Going ahead in the center is written from Kanina is a pop-defrocked and favorite Repin on the canvas. To the right of it – a huge man, embodies the wild, untamed force to the left – a sailor, hate glass eyes looking directly at the viewer. In the second triple stands out a very young boy, I think he's trying to remove the strap.
One of the conflicts Repin was that he was definitely an artist that expresses the aspirations of the public, the artist with citizenship and thus from time to time tried to follow the ideas of pure art and to protest against the publicistic artists of the Wanderers who strive to preach. In this sense, "barge haulers on the Volga" Repin unique: they are deprived of didactics, but "art for art's sake" is not exactly call them.

"Barge haulers, real barge haulers, and nothing more, – admired Dostoevsky. – None of them shouts from the painting to the viewer: "Look how unhappy I am, and to what extent you owe the people!"" How did you Repin to show the pathetic styling, but flesh and blood – and to do without teachings? A single imperative, which sets Repin: "Look!". But much of it not to avoid.

Repin picture at the annual academic exhibition, and even for the sake of completion put the training in Europe. "Barge haulers on the Volga" has caused a lot of attention and mixed reactions. Estimates ranged from "profanation of art" to "the greatest work".

Author: Alain Esaulova
I like65 To the selection96
About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Genre scene

Style of art: Realism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1873

Size: 131×281 cm

Artwork in selections: 96 selections