In 1861, one of the greatest Russian masterpieces of the time saw the light - a painting by Valery Jacobi “The Rest of Prisoners”. The work is frank, sharp and topical. Such a blatant expression of one’s own thoughts is characteristic of the 60s of the 19th century. Actual problems of society, like abscesses, are revealed by the artist on canvas. The choice of plot is not accidental. Valery Ivanovich spent his childhood and youth in the eastern regions of Russia, where he observed the hard life of prisoners with his own eyes. The unfortunate were driven past the house where the artist lived. Memories so firmly stuck in his head that the picture recreated from memory amazes with its realism and strength.
One of the central images of the work is a dead man on a cart. He is dressed smartly. His image betrays an educated person who has been punished for his judgments about the state system and political activity. On his hand you can see the ring, which is removed by another convict, he was lucky to survive. Even in such a situation, a negative human nature is manifested.
In the left corner of the picture depicts a family of prisoners. Women and children who choose this path of their own free will are exhausted and weakened. Great fortitude forced them to follow their men on a long journey, from which not everyone was destined to return. They mourn the dead and sympathize with the living. In contrast with their emotions is a prisoner smoking a pipe nearby. It seems that there was no more strength left in him to worry about his fate.
The landscape is made in dark colors. A pre-storm sky is about to burst under the onslaught of autumn rain. The steppe is sulfur and joyless. The impression of looking at the masterpiece is gloomy, heavy, and lead. The picture remained the best work of the author, the level of which Jacobi could no longer surpass.
Painting Levitan Spring