"Life is everywhere": Why was Yaroshenko's painting at first admired and then accused of tendentiousness
"Life is everywhere": Why was Yaroshenko's painting at first admired and then accused of tendentiousness
Life is everywhere. N. Yaroshenko, 1888

In 1888, at the 16th exhibition of the Itinerants, a painting by Nikolai Alexandrovich Yaroshenko "Life is everywhere" was presented. At first, the canvas delighted everyone. Critics praised the artist, people piled in droves to see with their own eyes the prisoners gazing at the free pigeons. However, after a while, the attitude towards the picture began to change. Yaroshenko was accused of excessive tendentiousness and idealization of the plot. Why did this happen, let's try to figure it out further.

Self-portrait. N. Yaroshenko, 1895

Nikolai Aleksandrovich Yaroshenko referred to himself as a Wanderer artist. His work was dominated by realistic plot scenes, portraits, mountain landscapes often appeared, but he was remembered by his descendants for the painting "Life is Everywhere", which more than once caused an ambiguous reaction from critics.

At first, all critics took Yaroshenko's work very well. The characters are well spelled out, the composition is verified. Then they began to see flaws in the picture: everything is too perfect, all the prisoners with innocent faces.

Life is everywhere. N. Yaroshenko, 1888

A woman with a covered head is probably a widow; men with a beard and mustache are most likely a worker and a peasant. And pigeons flutter by the car. People envy doves, their freedom, only the child rejoices, not understanding what awaits him. The artist deliberately depicted the carriage and platform as expressionless in order to focus the viewer's attention on the faces of the prisoners.

Life is everywhere. Fragment

20 years after the artist's death, the painting was again looked at from a different angle. Now Yaroshenko was accused of Tolstoyism. In Lev Nikolaevich's circle, the idea of ​​"where love is, there is God" was actively promoted. At first, the artist himself even wanted to name the painting as well. However, supporters of Nikolai Yaroshenko stubbornly reject this idea, they say, the artist, who wrote many canvases on acute social topics, could not think so flatly.

Prisoner. N. Yaroshenko, 1878

Quite often it happens that the attitude of critics to the painted pictures changes dramatically. So, one of the iconic paintings of Alexander Deineka is "Defense of Sevastopol". Some critics praised the picture for its emotional intensity, others did not like the excessive posterity, but no one remained indifferent.

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