In Russia. The Soul of the People by Mikhail Nesterov

In Russia. The Soul of the People by Mikhail Nesterov

The author’s idea of writing the painting “In Russia” arose 10 years before and was originally called “Christians.” The artist reflects on the fate of the Russian people and the fate of their country. Not in vain in the plot are peripetias that develop, ranging from antiquity and ending with modernity.

Here we see the split of Russia, and Tolstoy, and Dostoevsky, the Tsar with the Patriarch, the blind soldier and the sister of mercy. Against the background of the Russian landscape directly to God himself, they all move in the procession of the Cross. Everyone has his own way

to God, but all of them go in the same direction, some do it in a hurry, fussily, others – not so fast, but confidently. Ahead of such a multi-faced procession stands a 12-year-old peasant boy. The artist wanted to show him as the most perfect embodiment of the soul of the people.

At first, the master intended to write Jesus, who would lead the crowd into the kingdom of God. But, here it was necessary to take into account modern criticism, therefore, in the latter version, it abandoned the image of Christ. Nevertheless, his presence in the picture is still depicted, but in the image of the old, faded from the time of the Savior.

As a consequence, it is the peasant boy who is the central ideological image of the work. Nesterov, in his picture, along with popular philosophy, tried to embody the idea of justifying the sufferings of the people in the name of redemption. He wanted to show that the introduction of Christianity in Russia was a very difficult and painful stage.

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