Porozhnaki – a painting by Illarion Mikhailovich Pryanishnikov, painted in 1871, was warmly received by the artist’s contemporaries. An ingenious plot is taken from life: the peasants took their goods to the city and return along the winter road to their native village.
Bony horses run in a familiar way. The action is revived by a shaggy dog, enthusiastically diving into the snow with its nose. On the other side of the line of sleds, numerous crows frolic. On the last sledges, a young man, not dressed for the weather, huddled, looking like a student.
The viewer can only guess what made the hero set off on the road. Maybe he wants to celebrate Christmas with his family or is going to become a village teacher. The landscape seems gray and dull only at first glance. The author uses soft colors to convey the atmosphere of an early winter evening. Delicate sunset colors with a predominance of gold and pink are poured in the direction where the wagon train is heading. The right side of the firmament is hidden by a snow haze, erasing the horizon, clouding the space and promising an imminent cold snap at night.
Painting Porozhnaki by Illarion Pryanishnikov: a picturesque song about returning home
The author has achieved even lighting, harmonious tone with a predominance of brown, gold and gray. The shadows in the snow are light, without sharp contrasts. The landscape is so natural that it seems that the viewer is not looking at the picture, but through the window, following the empty sled going by.
Title of the painting: Porozhnyaki
Author: Illarion Mikhailovich Pryanishnikov (1840-1894).
Year of writing: 1871
Size: 88 x 132 cm.
Technique: Oil painting.
Location: Kharkov Art Museum, Ukraine.
Illarion Mikhailovich Pryanishnikov – one of the founders of the Peredvizhniki society, in the 70s of the 19th century, he paid special attention to the integrity of the plot. He strove to fill the paintings with deep meaning, to show the difficult life of the ordinary Russian people in all its manifestations. It is not surprising that toilers, peasants, students, and fire victims became his heroes.
At the Traveling Exhibition of 1871, the work “Porozhnyaki” was called innovative.
It successfully combines landscape and genre. The high assessment is confirmed by two historical facts. First, the painting was acquired by one of the collectors before the opening of the pavilion. The second – the famous philanthropist and benefactor Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov, violating his own rule to buy only the first versions, ordered the author a copy of the masterpiece.
The painting Porozhnyaki by Illarion Pryanishnikov, a famous Russian artist and wonderful teacher, remains interesting not only for art lovers. It reveals one of the many aspects of the life of the Russian people, with all its hardships and concerns. Such works complement our knowledge of Russian history.