Painting “Sleeping Children” by Vasily Perov

Vasily Perov. Painting Sleeping Children, 1870
Vasily Perov. Painting Sleeping Children, 1870

“Sleeping Children” is a famous painting by Vasily Grigorevich Perov, created in 1870. The author depicted a secluded corner of an old barn. Bright rays of sunlight break through the cracks in the walls and illuminate the frail figurines lying on the battered mat. These are peasant children, apparently brother and sister.

The children are dressed in old clothes: the girl is in a linen dress, and the boy is in dark trousers and a gray shirt that are oversized. A narrow string of cheap glass beads on a thin girl’s neck looks adorable, but there are no shoes on her feet – a poor family could not afford such a luxury. The picture evokes double feelings – appeasement at the sight of peacefully snorting children and pity from the realization of the horrible conditions in which they had to live.

Title of the painting: Sleeping Children.
Author: Vasily Grigorievich Perov (1833-1882).
Year of writing: 1870
Size: 53 x 61 cm.
Style: Realism.
Genre: Household scene.
Technique: Oil painting.
Material: Canvas.
Location: State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.

Vasily Grigorievich Perov lived and worked in the 19th century.

One of the founders of the Itinerant community, he traveled a lot, taught at an art school and took part in numerous exhibitions. The painter worked in the style of Russian realism, painted portraits of famous figures, created paintings on everyday topics. In his masterpieces, Vasily Grigorievich often touched upon the acute social problems of society, but paid special attention to the difficult life of children.

Sleeping Children is written in Perov’s classic handwriting in a soft and warm palette. The author used a brown-yellow color scheme, which fills the canvas with a light glow, a sense of peace and joy.

Painting “Sleeping Children” by Vasily Perov – tenderness and delight or compassion for peasant children?

The plot of the picture, as usual, is laconic, but additional information is read in each of its details. It can be seen that the family is poor. The girl, like the boy, almost always walks barefoot – the skin on her wide feet has darkened and hardened. Under the girl’s head is a crumpled “thin” pillow, and her brother sleeps with his hand under his cheek and covered with a fur casing. This means that children share one bed for two.

They lie on the bare floor – the shed didn’t have enough straw to make a comfortable bed. The children work a lot and hard, and then they find a quiet place and are forgotten in deep sleep. The picture “Sleeping Children” by Vasily Perov was greeted by the public with approval, and critics were not stingy with laudatory reviews. The masterpiece, which is kept in the Tretyakov Gallery, still attracts the attention of the audience with the sincerity of the plot and the masterful performance of touching images of village children.

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