Victor Efremovich Popkov's painting “The Builders of Bratsk” refers to the heyday of Soviet fine art. The canvas, created in 1960, is considered to be an example of the “severe style”, in which the artists sang the heroic everyday life of the Soviet people.
It depicts workers employed in the construction of the Bratsk Hydroelectric Power Station. They are shown not in the process of labor, but look sternly at the viewer, allowing a better view of their tense faces, large corpus callosum. This is a thaw trend that Viktor Popkov fully accepted. After a long period of perception of people as masses, creative interest again returned to the rich and controversial world of the individual.
Victor Popkov sees the builders of Bratsk as the personification of a gloomy era. That is why they are written out in close-up with great attention to every detail of appearance. The painter worked on the etudes of the painting exclusively at night
Time. The artist deliberately achieved the effect of contrasting silhouettes with a black background, drawing a parallel with the faces on the icons. The heroes of the canvas, despite the deliberate posterity, are real people from among the artist's acquaintances. Some of them were depicted with camp tattoos, but, fearing the wrath of the authorities, the artist removed them.
The painting was created after Viktor Efremovich’s trip to Bratsk - to the site of the largest construction at that time. The huge reservoir created by the Soviet people made an indelible impression on the artist. And he conceived an epic canvas, the heroes of which were simple Soviet workers.
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