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Conscience. Judas

Painting, 1891, 149×210 cm

Description of the artwork «Conscience. Judas»

This late painting by Nikolai GE, which is adjacent to his so-called "Passionate cycle" (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), it is not understood by contemporaries. Artist Paul Chistkain, in an ironic under his own name, praised the "Conscience" words "invented and somehow nepecino". Was disappointed and sincerely loved Kyo Basil Polenov: "Very, very weak thing. The black and the blue background is long and soft little table, wrapped in a sheet and illuminated with blue light, like a Sparkler..."

Meanwhile, GE admitted in his letters that this story is very dear to him, and over the beautiful pictures he worked painfully slow, was twice thrown, and then again returned to it and found the song finds a good and quite adequate to his plan. Judas, after much consideration, the artist considered the prototype (or, as we would say in the twentieth century archetype) betrayal. In a letter from A. S. Rozhdestveno explained: "A Judas in each of us, when we stop and can't run over those who are our Ideal, our life, the meaning of our lives. Here is the link the viewer with the position of Judah gave the name to this picture of "Conscience"".

We all, one way or another, like Judas, GE explained in a letter to his correspondent, P. I. Biryukov, when "lower needs, make carnal rebellion and rise of man".

Judas is not the only human figure on the canvas. At a great distance from him, barely visible people with torches lead of Christ. For this group of people, which is about to disappear from sight, rush favorite disciples – Peter, John. But Judah moves so slowly, that more and more away from them. This happens, explains GE, because the feelings experienced by Judas, is ambivalent: he knows he's supposed to go and after that committed him to not go. Stoop-shouldered back of Judas expresses his painful indecision. "And to run can not, and can not quit"– explained to GE motives of Judas in a letter of Tolstoy's daughter Tatyana Lvovna.

Colleagues-contemporaries did not understand searches "live form"started GE. They are the old-fashioned suggest to him "to add work from life"explaining that the viewer will not understand and will not appreciate unrealistic forms: "eyes adjusted". But GE continues to persist, to exaggerate the drawing, to experiment with paints. About the movie "Judas. Conscience" he says: "I feel truthfully, simply, and probably".

Evident that Judas Nikolay GE is not the first time portrayed the "without a face". In a similar way he did with the traitor in an earlier and far more felicitous perceived by the public picture "The last supper"(1863). "The face of Judas does not matter and all attempts to Express it pointless and to no avail"– wrote GE in 1892, the year of A. S. Rozhestveno, explaining that the case is not to convey a picture of the facial expression of Judas, it will do nothing for the understanding of his personality, and to deliver it face-to-face with the crime that he committed. Back to Judah, as we see, it appears to GE a more expressive and stylish, what could be his face.

It took the whole twentieth century, with its experience of post-classical art to the audience is fully able to evaluate the expression of GE and the amazing "lunar soil" under the feet of his Judas.

Author: Anna Yesterday
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Religious scene

Style of art: Realism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1891

Size: 149×210 cm

Artwork in selections: 31 selections

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