Museums and Art

“The First Christians in Kiev”, Vasily Grigorievich Perov - description of the painting

“The First Christians in Kiev”, Vasily Grigorievich Perov - description of the painting

The first Christians in Kiev - Vasily G. Perov. 156 x 243 cm

Vasily Perov is a famous artist of the realistic genre, but in the 70-80s of the 19th century, he increasingly turns to historical and religious topics.

How magnificent in its simplicity and depth of design is his canvas about the first Christians in Kiev. These wanderers do not yet have their own refuge and they gather in hidden caves to pray, to know, to partake of, and to come to God.

The composition is carefully verified by the author. The scene is multi-figured, kneeling people on the left and right. But immediately a central bright spot catches the eye, in which a group of praying Kievites is snatched out and lit.

Their inspired faces, icon and gospel are illuminated not just with candlelight, but with a divine light that bestows only those who believe in Christ.

The faces of those who had just come to the cave are dark, they are in the gloom and they have not yet been touched by the inspiration from prayers and the goodness of Christ.

This picture, rather, is not a transfer of real historical events, but their interpretation and understanding by the artist Perov himself.

His main idea is that only a person who aspires to God can be enlightened, obey his commandments and, of course, work to find a better life. Simple things such as a shovel and a bucket depicted by the author in the lower right corner of the canvas speak allegorically.


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