In 1937, Boris Johanson finished work on one of his best creations - the painting “At the Old Ural Plant”. Her topic was relevant and hotly debated at that time. The canvas was dedicated to exacerbating the confrontation of classes in society.
The artist aimed to show the severity of working conditions, the intensity of labor and the difficult life of ordinary workers. To do this, the master traveled to the Ural mountains, visiting the largest centers of production and coal mining. Johanson read a lot of specialized and fiction, talked with local residents, watched and made conclusions. The idea of the painting was born after arriving in one of the factory premises of Sverdlovsk. The old workshop was more like a prison. He was gloomy, devoid of lighting and amenities. The barn became the place where the action takes place.
One of the central figures of the canvas is the owner of the foundry. A sales clerk whispers in his ear. Their views are directed at the worker who is trying to awaken in his comrades a desire to live and fight. The man is well aware that his thoughts are objectionable and can cost him his life. Against the background are several more workers. A tired old man who understands the horror of his situation and the need to change his life. To his right is a deeply drinking, dirty man. Hard labor broke its core and uprooted a man in it. The boy complements the picture, helping the workers. He is thin and exhausted. This company is deprived of the energy that is so necessary to protect its rights.
A masterpiece has clarity, specificity and accuracy. There is no hidden meaning in it as conceived by the author. “At the Old Ural Plant” is a sharp and topical work. The picture deservedly takes place among the brilliant Soviet works.
Pictures by Valentin Serov