The Appearance of Christ to the People by Alexander Ivanov

The Appearance of Christ to the People by Alexander Ivanov

The picture of the artist Alexander Andreevich Ivanov “The Appearance of Christ to the people” is known to almost everyone today. There are always visitors in the Tretyakov Gallery where the canvas is kept. Of course, it affects not only its huge size. What attracts our attention? The biblical plot of the picture to many today is almost unknown or familiar about. Nevertheless, everyone finds something close to him in it.

Mankind at a crossroads… What choice is possible for a person? And now comes the minute, in which they believed and did not believe, hoped and doubted. There are rich and poor, young and old, innocent and sinful, those who believed at once and who still doubt. Both are shocked. Everyone is excited… At this moment their fate is decided.

How differently people express their feelings! On the right are people who leave Christ. These are his future persecutors – the Pharisees. Their heads are lowered, unconcealed hostility on their faces, their eyes are downcast, their lips are closed. There was anxiety, regret about the passing past, there is a sinister intent here. What do the worried riders, representing the Great Roman Empire, the Empire of Power, think at this moment?

Those who have already received baptism in the sacred waters of the Jordan, who sincerely repented of their sins, wished to be cleansed of them and begin a new life, overwhelmed the feeling of joyful expectation and hope. They rushed forward, ready to embrace the new truth and follow Christ. Among this group of people, the figure of a slave with a rope around his neck attracts attention. Crouching on the ground and raising his head, listening to the preaching of John, he at the same time is willing to helpfully throw a striped cloth on the effulgent, sleek body of his master. A crying smile or a sobbing laughter, joy or pain imprinted on his face? And only the expressive gesture of the host’s hand, sitting with his back to the audience, eloquently calls not very much to trust the preaching of John the Baptist.

But how passionately and selflessly his prophetic words sound! Dressed in a coarse sheepskin coat, long unshaved, a bearded man, he stands, weary of a long road and wanderings, holding his hand firmly behind his staff. What strength of mind and conviction in his gaze! How noble and expressive is his face! About the Kingdom of Heaven, he speaks so convincingly that it is impossible to understand his words, not to believe – even more so! And in contrast to it – the figure of a doubting person in a blue tunic. After a little retreat to the depths, he passes the people behind the prophet past him. And if the hands of John the Baptist are inspired upward, the hands of the doubter, on the contrary, are hidden in the wide sleeves of the tunic. And is it worth it to embark on an uncharted path? Is it possible to believe the strange words of a violent prophet to the end?

The fresh morning wind dispersed the clouds, drew waves, flew over the blue mountains loudly, played with folds of a dark blue cloak, gently touched the golden hair of one who walks along the hillside, barely touching the foot of the earth. He does not hurry anywhere, he does not look at anything. He, as always, keeping calm serenity, goes to people, brings to this world harmony and beauty, peace and harmony.

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