Christ and the Samaritan woman - Henry Ippolitovich Semiradsky. 101 x 183 cm
At the peak of his fame and popularity, Genrikh Ippolitovich Semiradsky writes the painting “Christ and the Samaritan Woman”. She is considered a sinner, "who had five husbands in the past and now lives with someone who is not her husband." Therefore, she comes to get water at noon alone, so as not to meet with other residents from the city of Sychar.
Many artists wrote on this plot. But the innovation of Semiradsky is that he depicts the scene against the backdrop of an unusually vibrant, almost real landscape. He skillfully combines the evangelical plot and the plein air effect. Thanks to this, the naturalness and reliability of the depicted in the picture is created.
In what a cozy, shady place is the well. Here you really want to relax your soul and body after long wanderings on the hot Samaritan land. What a realistic play of light and shadow when writing century-old plane trees on the left side of the canvas.
In the distance there is a light haze from the air, which suggests a sultry day. With great knowledge of the era, the author draws a girl’s costume with all the decorations - tassels, ribbons, a bracelet, as well as a beautifully painted jug in her hands.
In the center of the canvas is Jesus Christ. He, along with his students, returns to Galilee from Judea. He is tired, but his face and eyes are turned with good understanding to this lost woman. Jesus talks with her openly, talks about his mission as the messiah, they talk on spiritual topics and the love and spark of God arises in the heart of that Samaritan woman.
This work of Semiradsky responds in that it is without edification and instructiveness, which are always implied in the performance of religious subjects. There was almost nothing left of evangelical mythology in it. There was a lot of criticism of the artist precisely about this. But among the public, among us - the audience, the picture evokes only admiration and delight from the artist’s skill and talent.