The picture in the center depicts four young men. The man on the left reads a newspaper sheet aloud, and the others listen attentively to him.
Orest Kiprensky called the men depicted on the canvas Russian, although some of his contemporaries said that the artist said so as to somehow smooth out political disputes about the Polish uprising in November 1830. Another artist Andrei Ivanov wrote to Alexander Ivanov his son, also an artist, that Kiprensky on this canvas painted portraits of Poles.
The art critic Nikolai Romanov, who wrote about the history of art, suggested that four young people are Poles who lived in Italy.
In the foreground are Anthony Edward Odynets, Adam Mickiewicz, Sigmund Krasinsky and Alexander Pototsky. Also, one man holds a decorative dog in his hands.
On the right, behind the young people, is the awakened volcano Vesuvius. At the time of O. A. Kiprensky, his contemporaries considered the volcano a symbol of revolution. So symbolically, the artist expressed his sympathy for public moods.
A person reading a newspaper aloud, still holds in his hands a dog who peeks out from under a newspaper leaflet. With this detail, the artist draws the attention of the viewer to a newspaper article, emphasizes its importance.
Portraits of four young people became the first in the group portrait genre. We can say that this picture is fundamental in this genre.
Peter Brueghel The Misanthrope