Description of the picture:
Reading the provisions of February nineteen one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one years – Grigory G. Myasoedov. Canvas, oil. 138.2 x two hundred nine cm
The outstanding Russian painter Myasoedov Grigory Grigoryevich is known not only as a painter, but also as the founder, manager and participant of the society of painters of traveling exhibitions. Their work was fueled by populist thoughts, they carried culture to the masses, organizing art exhibitions.
Myasoedov, born in the family of a poor nobleman of the Tula province, understood the hard work of ordinary people, the disenfranchised and humiliating position of farmers. The work of Myasoedov in the period of the 1870s can be characterized as acutely social, critical.
So, his work, done in one thousand eight hundred and 70 three years – “Reading the manifesto on February nineteen one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one years” – can be safely attributed to the direction of critical realism.
Grigory Grigoryevich, possessing a sharp character, an ironic mindset, a narrow observer of the artist and an active civilian position, could not help but respond with his creativity to such a momentous event for Russia as the abolition of hated serfdom.
The painting depicts farmers gathered to listen to the decree of ruler Alexander II on earthen reform. The men gathered in a barn for drying hay, it is dimly dark, but sunlight is leaking from above, which illuminates the group and the boy reading the manifesto. Leaning forward, intently and with hope, a young man in a snow-white shirt listens to the reader. On the faces of men older and wiser there is a certain mistrust, hesitation. The pose of the farmer with his arms folded on his stomach causes a feeling of lethargy and hopelessness.
The reform is one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one years old and at the present time still causes controversy due to its ambiguity, how can ordinary people of the 19th century realize whether they will have a better life or a decree only for wealthy landowners?
Myasoedov’s talent as a painter is fully manifested in this picture – how real the poses are, how rich the emotions are on the faces of men, how colorful each character is, how it’s written out no matter what detail – from bast shoes to straws."