Jesus sits on a rock and waits for the sun to rise. The horizon line divides the canvas into two parts: a cold stone desert – on the one hand, and the sky – a world of light and hope, a symbol of the future transformation – on the other. Exactly in the middle of the canvas, on the border of these two worlds, the closed hands of Christ are depicted, which together with his face represent the visual and semantic centers of the picture. Here the zone of the greatest “tension” is concentrated at the moment of acceptance by the Savior of the destiny destined for him.
The painting was also presented at the Second exhibition of the Association of Traveling Art Exhibitions, one of the founders of which was Kramskoy. Many wanted to buy a canvas, but it eventually went to P. Tretyakov for six thousand rubles. Tretyakov repeatedly said that “Christ in the desert” – one of his most favorite paintings.