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Nesterov’s plan to create the painting “In Russia” arose 10 years before its writing and was originally called “Christians”. The author reflects in an artistic form on the fate of the Russian people and his country. Not without reason in the plot we see the ups and downs, developing from antiquity to the present. Here we can see the split of Russia, and the Tsar with the Patriarch (intelligentsia and people). There are V. Soloviev, and Tolstoy, and F. Dostoevsky, and a blind soldier, and a sister of mercy. But all of them against the backdrop of the Russian landscape to God himself, to the Highest ideal of the people go the procession. Everyone has their own path to God, but in the end, everyone is moving in one direction: some do it fussyly, in a hurry, others slowly and confidently. Someone in front, and someone behind, one with joy, no doubt, seriously considering the other. And in front of such a diverse procession stands a twelve-year-old peasant boy. According to the artist, he is the most perfect embodiment of the national soul.
Initially, the master wanted to write Jesus, leading the crowd into the kingdom of God. But given modern criticism, he refused the latest version of the image of Christ but, his presence on the canvas is still there, albeit in the image of the old, Savior faded from the time.
Therefore, it was the boy who became the central ideological image on the canvas, subconsciously pointing each of us to the biblical truth: "As children you will enter the Kingdom of God." With this picture, Nesterov, along with Dostoevsky and popular philosophy, tried to embody the idea of justifying popular suffering in the name of redemption as a national feature of Russia. The picture contains the author’s thought that the very introduction of Christianity in Russia was a very difficult and even painful stage. There is also a certain amount of doubt: whether the free soul of Russia was specially chained with the help of religion in a straitjacket ...
Mark Rothko Pictures