Boyarynya Morozova in life and in painting: the history of the rebellious schismatic
Boyarynya Morozova in life and in painting: the history of the rebellious schismatic
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V. Surikov. Boyarynya Morozova, detail

The attitude towards Feodosia Morozova and her historical role is rather ambiguous. Her renunciation of all the blessings of life, of which the boyaryn had a lot, is called by some a feat in the name of faith, others - by fanatical adherence to religious canons. The life path of a rebellious noblewoman Morozovacaptured Vasily Surikov on his most famous canvas, ended in tragic death. Who was she really - a holy martyr or a possessed one?

V. Surikov. Boyarynya Morozova, detail

After Nikon's reform in the 17th century, a split occurred in the church: the Old Believers refused to accept innovations. Following the Archpriest Avvakum, they became schismatics and stoically endured torture and went to their death, but did not renounce their beliefs. By order of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, the schismatics were sent into exile, thrown into earthen prisons - deep pits, or into cellars with rats. Such a fate awaited the boyaryn Morozov.

V. Surikov. Study for the painting Boyarynya Morozova

Feodosia Prokopyevna Morozova (nee - Sokovnina), was the supreme palace noblewoman. Her father was in kinship with the wife of the tsar Maria Ilyinichna, so Feodosia was one of the courtiers. Her husband Gleb Morozov also came from a noble family, his older brother Boris was very rich. After the death of her husband and his brother, the entire fortune passed to Theodosia. She lived in luxury, she had several estates and 8 thousand serfs at her disposal. She rode out in a carriage accompanied by hundreds of servants.

V. Surikov. The head of the noblewoman Morozova. Sketches for the painting

The tsar ordered Theodosia to be arrested, having taken away her estates and lands, and expelled from Moscow if she did not renounce the old faith. Boyarynya Morozova refused and deliberately doomed herself to poverty, hunger and certain death. She died in an earthen prison from complete exhaustion in 1675.

V. Surikov. The head of the noblewoman Morozova. Study for a painting, 1886

Vasily Surikov depicted the moment when the boyaryn was taken on the woods along the Moscow streets. The artist was admired by a woman who rebelled against the official church and the royal power, and was so strong that no torture broke her will.

Boyarynya Morozova visits Archpriest Avvakum. 19th century miniature

In 1887, the painting "Boyarynya Morozova" was first presented at the 15th exhibition of Itinerant artists, after which P. Tretyakov bought it for his collection. The reaction to the painting was mixed. Surikov was even accused of promoting a split. Only 3 people then openly spoke with a positive assessment of the work: the writers Garshin and Korolenko and the music critic Stasov. V. Korolenko wrote: “There is something great in a person who consciously goes to death for what she considers to be true. Such examples awaken in us faith in human nature, uplifting the soul”.

I. Repin. Portrait of V. Surikov

Surikov knew the history of Morozova from childhood - he was familiar with the schismatics, the artist's aunt Avdotya Vasilievna leaned towards the old faith. In the first sketches, it was her features that the artist endowed the noblewoman with. But the result did not satisfy him: “No matter how I paint her face, the crowd beats. After all, how long have I been looking for him. The whole face was shallow. I got lost in the crowd. " In the end, the Ural Old Believer served as the prototype of the heroine: “I wrote a sketch from her in the kindergarten at two o'clock. And when I inserted it into the picture, it defeated everyone,”said the artist. This is how everyone now imagines the boyarynya Morozov.

P. Ossovsky. Fragment of the triptych Protopop Avvakum - Boyarynya Morozova

Surikov deviated somewhat from the historical truth - he knew that the schismatic was being transported bound and immobilized, then there was no heroism and greatness in this image.Therefore, his noblewoman Morozova sits on straw, raising her hand folded with a two-fingered cross - a symbol of the Old Believers. His heroine is the embodiment of the best traits of the whole people: readiness for self-sacrifice, stamina and fortitude.

V. Surikov. Boyarynya Morozova, 1884-1887

A 33 drawings about the life of Russia, made in 1872, confirm the fact that in the 19th century in the vicinity of Moscow there were Old Believer churches.

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