Paintings

Description of the painting by Alexander Ivanov “The Appearance of Christ to the People”


The canvas was painted in the period from 1837 to 1857, oil on canvas in Italy.

The artist worked on its creation for the whole 20 years and put his whole soul into it. It is based on the third chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. This is not the first painting by Ivanov, which is written according to biblical subjects.

"The appearance of Christ to the people" was waiting for everyone who was interested in painting. The canvas was ordered by the Ivanov Academy of Arts, and immediately after completion of work was purchased. To write it, the artist created more than 600 sketches from life, which were later acquired in his gallery by Pavel Tretyakov.

A year after the work was completed, Ivanov took the painting to St. Petersburg. An exhibition took place at the Academy of Arts, in which the canvas made an unforgettable impression on everyone who could see it. Two months later, the great artist died. He managed to complete the work of his life.

Immediately after the death of Ivanov, the canvas was bought by Emperor Alexander the Second. He donated it to the Rumyantsev Museum. After its disbandment, the painting was transferred to the Tretyakov Gallery.

In the foreground, the canvases depict the Jews who came to be baptized in the Jordan River with John the Baptist. But his baptism did not carry absolution. Ivanov depicted all the characters exactly with a biblical description.

John points to the desert, warning and rejoicing that the Savior is coming, who carries the truth in himself and will give them new knowledge. John the Baptist is the central image on the canvas. Christ can be considered in detailed study. His face is filled with light, truth, tranquility and grace.

Around John there are many people in colorful robes, among them are future apostles, and disciples of Christ. At the very center of the canvas is a rich seated man with his slave. Ivanov wrote this not just like that, but with the goal of the future moral degeneration of man, which will appear after Christ begins to preach the truth.

Among the crowd there are also negatively minded Jewish priests and scribes. Also on the right side we can see “trembling” - these are half-naked people who have taken bath and are waiting for teachings. Beautiful mountains span the horizon. The area around is rocky and only near the water trees grow. You can see on the hill a crowd of people awaiting baptism and listening to the prophet.

The canvas “The Appearance of Christ to the People” became not only the work of Ivanov’s life, but also the historical and religious heritage of our country.





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