Museums and Art

“The governess’s arrival at the merchant’s house”, Vasily Grigorievich Perov - description of the painting

“The governess’s arrival at the merchant’s house”, Vasily Grigorievich Perov - description of the painting

Arrival of a governess in a merchant's house - Vasily Grigorievich Perov. 44 x 53.3 cm

The famous work of Vasily Grigorievich Perov is stored in the Tretyakov Gallery and it is impossible to pass by, it is so full of human emotions and provides food for thought and reasoning.

A young girl was hired into the house of a wealthy merchant, so that everything was “like people”. Indeed, in the 19th century, it was accepted that the children of landowners and merchants should be educated by people from educated and intelligent sectors of society.

On the canvas are two main figures - a merchant and a girl. Solid, with legs wide apart, confident in himself and in his mastery, the figure of a merchant. His face with arrogance, condescension and with some curiosity examines the newcomer.

The thin figure of the girl is the exact opposite of the owner. Bowing her head in a bow, she simultaneously takes out some papers from her purse, most likely documents about herself and her education. Uncertainty, doom and fear of a future life in this house were talented by the artist in her figure. But, as often happens, working as a governess is the only opportunity for honest earnings for a poor educated woman of that time.

The figures of the other participants in the composition seem to be relegated to the background, but they are even more interesting, brighter and more colorful in the manifestations of their feelings, the author wrote everything on their faces.

Oh, and it will not be easy for an intelligent girl in this house. The young merchant, the son of the owner, is sure to cause a lot of trouble to the young governess. This is evidenced by his grin and look, according to the artist Perov himself, unscrupulous and curious.

The women behind the owner, possibly the merchant woman and relatives, do not hide their keen attention to this whole scene. For the sake of such bride, they abandoned all their affairs and household chores.

To the left near the front door, where the guest’s modest luggage stands, crowded servants and servants. Their faces are smiling, but it’s hard to say for sure what caused their fun. Either in general a new event in the house, or grins and jokes that evaluate a clearly not rich girl.

The only "bright spot" in this picture is a girl in a white shirt and pink skirt. Her sweet, still childish face is full of surprise and joy - after all, this was the teacher who came to her. Perhaps, it is in the host daughter that the guest will find a grateful student and peace of mind from envious, humiliating, ignorant or rude relationships with other family members.

And they, of course, will, because the governess will have to depend on her masters. After all, she is in a disenfranchised and hopeless situation, she has to earn a living herself. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened in society when, after the famous land reforms, competent and educated but impoverished nobles appeared.

The famous painting by Vasily Perov about the governess’s arrival in the merchant’s house, once again emphasizes the artist’s position as a person of freedom-loving and realistic views, showing the lack of rights and subordination of some people to others, depending on their condition and estate.


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