“Priam, asking Achilles for the body of Hector”, Ivanov – description of the painting

Description of the picture:

Priam, asking Achilles for the body of Hector – Alexander Andreevich Ivanov. Canvas, oil. 100 nineteen x 124.7 cm

A. Ivanov painted this picture at the age of eighteen, being a student of the Imperial Academy of Arts. For her, the young artist was awarded a small gold medal, which was the highest assessment of the student’s skills.

The picture was painted in the style of academism, which implied masterly mastery of the painting technique, but Ivanov already proved to be an outstanding artist. The work depicts the moral torment of heroes and impresses with the deepest psychic interpretation.

The plot of the work was the episode of The Homer’s Iliad, telling about the Elder Priam who secretly appeared to Achilles to ask him to return the body of Hector’s own dead son for burial. Hector killed in battle a friend of Achilles Patroclus. Upon learning of this, Achilles became very angry, challenged Hector to a duel and hit him. Having tied the body of the dead protector of Troy to the chariot, Achilles drove him around the city walls for several days. Having learned about this, the gods were angry with the hero and ordered him to give Hector’s body to dad. Priam the gods sent to the camp of Achilles, promising safety.

The picture shows the moment when the ruler Priam, with the help of Hermes who went unnoticed, made his way into the tent of Achilles. The generous old man knelt before the offspring killer and begs him to give Hector’s body for burial. His face is grief and despair. Achilles had just come off his own sad thoughts about a dead friend. He looks with pity at Priam, because he reminded the hero of his father. And at the same time, the pain from the loss of a comrade had not yet subsided into his heart. The urn with its ashes stands to the right of Achilles on a stone elevation. This internal moral struggle is reflected in the face of Achilles, and in the end, sympathy will prevail, he will give Hector’s body to the ill-fated dad.

To the left of Priam, a little off, are the scattered associates of Achilles Alkim and AutoMedont. In the background, Priam’s chariot with gifts is visible in the lumen of the door.

The invisible presence of the gods is indicated in the picture: on the frontal plane there is a caduceus lying on the floor – the rod of Hermes, and behind the urn with ashes there is a marble bust of Zeus with its attribute as a falcon.

A. Ivanov, in his own work, managed to show the sensual struggle on the faces of the heroes and resurrect the traditional plot of the Iliad."