Myths and truth in Burlaki on the Volga

Myths and truth in "Barge Hills on the Volga"

I. Repin. Barge haulers on the Volga, 1870-1873

The painting “Barge Haulers on the Volga,” which glorified Ilya Repin, since its appearance evoked mixed reviews. Someone admired the skill of the artist, someone accused him of retreating from the truth of life. As I remember, we at school discussed it and wrote essays on it.

Why is the famous picture provoked a scandal at the state level, and how much Repin actually sinned against reality?

Artel Burlakov

These images of unfortunate rag-students, who make their living by overwork, are familiar to everyone from school textbooks. Burlaki in the XVI-XIX centuries. They were hired workers who, with the help of the string, dragged the riverboats against the current. Barge haulers united in artels of 10-45 people, there were also female artels. Despite the hard work, for the season (spring or autumn) barge haulers could earn so much that later on they would live comfortably for six months. Because of want and poor harvests, peasant farmers sometimes went to barge haulers, but mostly tramps and homeless people were engaged in such work.

There were also female artels

I. Shubin argues that in the XIX century.the work of barge haulers looked like this: a large drum with a cable wound on it was installed on barges. People boarded the boat, took the end of the cable with three anchors and sailed upstream. There they threw anchors into the water alternately. The haulers on the barge were pulling the cable from the bow to the stern, winding it around the drum. Thus, they "pulled up" the barge upstream: they walked back, and the deck under their feet moved forward. Having wrapped the cable, they again went to the bow of the ship and did the same. It was necessary to pull along the shore only when the ship ran aground. That is, the episode depicted by Repin is an isolated incident.

The vessel could be pulled upstream with cables.

The same exception to the rules can be called and shown in the picture section of the road. The shoreline, the coastal strip along which the barge haulers moved, was not built up by buildings and fences by the order of the emperor Paul, but there were plenty of bushes, stones and bogs. The deserted and even shore depicted by Repin is an ideal stretch of the way, which actually was not much.

The work of barge haulers was unbearably heavy

The painting “Barge Haulers on the Volga” was painted in 1870–1873, when the steamers replaced the sailing boats, and the need for burlacian work disappeared. In the middle of the XIX century.the work of barge haulers began to be replaced by machine-borne. That is, at that time, the theme of the painting could no longer be called relevant. Therefore, the scandal broke out when Repin's Burlakov was sent to the World Exhibition in Vienna in 1873. The Russian Minister of Railways was indignant: “Well, what a difficult one pulled you to write this ridiculous picture? Why, this antediluvian method of transport by me has already been reduced to zero and soon there will be no mention of it! ” However, Repin was patronized by the Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich, who not only approvingly spoke of the work of the artist, but even purchased it for his personal collection.

Artel Burlakov

"Burlakov" Repin wrote in 29 years old, finishing his studies at the Academy of Arts. In the late 1860s. He went to the sketches in Ust-Izhora, where he was amazed by the artel of barge haulers he saw on the shore. To learn more about the characters he is interested in, Repin settled for the summer in the Samara region. His research cannot be called serious, in which he himself admitted: “I must admit frankly that I was not at all interested in the question of the life and social order of the contracts of barge haulers with the owners; I asked them only to give some serious business.To tell the truth, I even absently listened to some story or detail about their relationship to the owners and these bloodsucking boys. ”

I. Repin. Barge Haulers on the Volga. Fragment: there was * a bump * in front, and * alery * next to it

Nevertheless, the "Barge Haulers on the Volga" fairly accurately reproduces the hierarchy of hired workers.

1. The shoreline

Trampled coastal strip, which went barge haulers. Emperor Pavel forbade building fences and buildings here, but he limited himself to this. Neither bushes, nor stones, nor swampy places were removed from the path of barge haulers, so the place written by Repin can be considered an ideal stretch of road.

2. Cone - Brigadier Bargemaster

They became a clever, strong and experienced person who knew a lot of songs. In the artel, which Repin captured, the cone was pop-defrocked Kanin (the sketches were preserved, where the artist indicated the names of some characters). The brigadier calixed, that is, he fastened his strap in front of everyone and set the rhythm of the movement. Each step was made by barge haulers synchronously from the right leg, then pulling up the left. From this the whole gang rocked on the move. If someone missed a step, people would come across their shoulders, and the lump would give the command “hay - straw”, resuming movement in the leg.To maintain the rhythm on the narrow paths above the cliffs, the brigadier required great skill.

3. Podshishelnye - closest helpers cones

To the left of Kanin goes Ilka the sailor — the artel elder, who bought the provisions and issued the salary to the haulers. At the time of Repin, it was small - 30 kopecks per day. So much, for example, cost to cross the whole Moscow in a cab, driving from Znamenka to Lefortovo. Behind the collar were those who needed special control.

4. "Bonded"

“Bonded,” like this man with a pipe, still at the beginning of his journey, managed to squander his salary for the entire flight. Being indebted to the artel, they worked for grubs and did not really try.

5. Cook Larka

The cook and the falcon warden (that is, the person responsible for the cleanliness of the latrine on the ship) was the youngest of the barge haulers — the village boy Larka, who experienced real hazing. Considering his duties more than sufficient, Larka was sometimes scandalous and defiantly refused to pull the strap.

6. "Hackers"

In each artel, there were some negligent people, like this man with a pouch. On occasion, they were not averse to shifting some of the burden onto the shoulders of others.

7. “The Warden”

Behind were the most conscientious barge haulers, who urged the hackers.

8. Inert or inert

Oblique or inert - that was the name of the barge, which closed the movement. He made sure that the string did not cling to stones and bushes on the shore. Kosny used to look at his feet and stand apart in order to be able to walk at his own pace. They chose experienced ones who were sick or weak.

9-10. Bark and flag

Type barques. Elton salt, Caspian fish and seals fat, Ural iron and Persian goods (cotton, silk, rice, dried fruits) were carried on such upward along the Volga. Artel recruited by weight laden ship at the rate of about 250 pounds per person. The cargo, which pulls up along the river 11 barge haulers, weighs no less than 40 tons.

The order of the stripes on the flag was not considered too carefully, and was often raised upside down, as here.

11 and 13. Pilot and Aquarius

The pilot is a man on the steering wheel, actually the captain of the ship. He earns more than the entire artel, taken together, gives instructions to the barge haulers and maneuvers both the steering wheel and the units regulating the length of the string. Now the bark makes a turn, bypassing the stranded.

Vodoliv - a carpenter who caulks and repairs a ship, monitors the safety of the goods, is liable for them when loading and unloading.Under the contract, he has no right to leave the rasshivu during the voyage and replaces the owner, directing on his behalf.

12 and 14. The string and sail

Becheva - cable, which chalyat barge haulers. While the barge was being led along the krutoyar, that is, at the very coast, the line was etched at 30 meters. But the pilot weakened it, the bark departs from the coast. In a minute the string will stretch like a string, and the haulers will have to hold the inertia of the vessel first, and then pull with all their might.

At this moment the lump will tighten the melody:

"Here we go and take,

The right-left is stepped on.

Oh time, once again,

Once more, once more ... "

and so on until the artel goes into a rhythm and moves forward.

15. Carving on the bark

From the 16th century, it was customary to decorate the Volga bark with intricate carvings. It was believed that it helps the ship to rise against the tide. The best experts in clumsy work in the country were engaged in exactly the beatings. When in the 1870s steamers pushed wooden barges off the river, craftsmen wandered off in search of a living, and in the wooden architecture of Central Russia came the thirty-year epoch of magnificent carved platbands. Later, the thread requiring high qualification, gave way to a more primitive cutting on the stencil.

I. Repin. Barge Haulers on the Volga. Fragment: on the left - * bonded *, on the right - cook Larka

Despite the existence of real prototypes, in academic circles “Burlakov” was called “the greatest profanation of art”, “a sober true pitiful reality”. Journalists wrote that Repin embodied "skinny little ideas, transferred to the canvas from newspaper articles ... in which realists draw their inspiration." At the exhibition in Vienna, too, many met the picture with bewilderment. One of the first to appreciate the picture of the true worth was F. Dostoevsky, whose admiring reviews were later picked up by art experts.

When Dostoevsky saw this picture of Ilya Repin, he was very glad that the artist did not put any social protest into it.

In the “Diary of a Writer,” Fyodor Mikhailovich remarked:

“… Barge haulers, real barge haulers and nothing more. None of them shouts from the picture to the viewer: “See how miserable I am and to what extent you owe it to the people!” And this alone can be put into the greatest merit of the artist. Glorious, familiar figures: two advanced barge hauler almost laugh, at least, they don’t cry at all and don’t think at all about their social status. The soldier is cunning and false, wants to fill the tube.The boy is serious, screaming, even quarreling - an amazing figure, almost the best in the picture and equal in design with the rearmost boat, hauled by a muzhik, weaving too much, which even the face is not visible ...

After all, it is impossible not to love them, these defenseless, you cannot leave without loving them. It is impossible not to think that he should, really owes the people ... After all, this burlatsk "party" will be a dream later, fifteen years later it will be remembered! And if they were not so natural, innocent and simple - they would not make such an impression and would not make such a picture. ”

Dostoevsky could not even imagine how many platitudes would be said about this picture and what an invaluable document it would now be for those who want to understand the organization of the work of barge haulers.

And by the way, did you know that today Repin is called one of the most mysterious figures in the history of painting?


His work was accompanied by one whole strange circumstance - many who were lucky enough to become his models, soon went to another world. And although in each of the cases there were some objective reasons for death, the coincidence is alarming ...

“Fear the painter's brush — his portrait may be more alive than the original,” wrote Cornelius Agrippa of Nettesheim in the 15th century.The work of the great Russian artist Ilya Repin was proof of this. Pirogov, Pisemsky, Mussorgsky, French pianist Mercy d'Arzhanto and other models became “victims” of the artist. Only the master began to paint a portrait of Fyodor Tyutchev, the poet died. Even healthy men, who posed for the Repin painting "Barge Haulers on the Volga" is rumored to be premature to give his life to God.

"Ivan the Terrible and his Son November 16, 1581"

I.Ye. Repin. "Ivan the Terrible and his son Ivan November 16, 1581" (1885)

Today this picture is known as “Ivan the Terrible kills his son”. It was with this picture Repin happened terrible story. When she was exhibited in the Tretyakov Gallery, the canvas made a strange impression on visitors: some before the picture fell into a stupor, others wept, and with the third there were hysterical seizures. Even the most balanced people in front of the picture felt uneasy: there was too much blood on the canvas, it looked very realistic.

January 16, 1913 a young icon painter Abram Balashov cut the picture with a knife, for which he was sent to the "yellow" house, where he died. The picture was restored. But this tragedy is not over.The artist Myasoedov, who posed for Repin for the image of the king, almost killed his son in a fit of anger, and the writer Vsevolod Garshin - the model for Prince Ivan — went insane and ended his life by suicide.

"The ceremonial meeting of the State Council"

I.Ye. Repin. "The ceremonial meeting of the State Council" (1903)

In 1903, Ilya Repin completed the monumental painting "The ceremonial meeting of the State Council." And in 1905, the First Russian Revolution happened, during which many government officials, captured in the picture, laid down their heads. Thus, the former Governor-General of Moscow, Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich and Minister V. K. Plehve were killed by terrorists.

Portrait of Prime Minister Stolypin

I.E. Repin. "Portrait of Prime Minister Stolypin"

Writer Korney Chukovsky recalled: “When Repin wrote my portrait, I jokingly told him that if I were a little more superstitious, I would never have dared to pose for him, because in his portraits there is an ominous power: almost everyone he writes, in the next few days he dies. Posted by Mussorgsky - Mussorgsky died instantly. Posted by Pisemsky - Pisemsky died.And Pirogov? And Mercy d’Arzhanto? And as soon as he wanted to write a portrait for Tretyakov, Tyutchev, Tyutchev fell ill in the same month and soon died.

O. L. d’Or, a humorous writer who was present during this conversation, said in a pleading voice:

- In this case, Ilya Efimovich, please, write, please, Stolypin!

Everyone laughed. Stolypin was at that time a prime minister, and we hated him. It's been a few months. Repin told me:

- And this your Hor was a prophet. Food writing Stolypin commissioned by the Saratov Duma ".

He did not immediately agree to a proposal to paint a portrait of Prime Minister Repin, looking for various excuses to refuse. But the Saratov Duma fulfilled all the requirements of the artist, and it was simply inconvenient to refuse.

The artist decided to portray Stolypin not a nobleman in a uniform with orders and all regalia, but in an ordinary suit. Portrait - evidence that Repin was interested in the person, not the state person. Official and solemnity gives the portrait only a dark red background.

After the first session, Repin told his friends: “Strange: the curtains in his office are red, like blood, like fire.I write it on this blood-fire background. But he does not understand that this is the background of the revolution ... ”As soon as Repin finished the portrait, Stolypin went to Kiev, where he was killed. “Thank you, Ilya Efimovich!”, The Satirikons joked evilly.

In 1918, the portrait entered the Radischevsky Museum of Saratov and since then it has been located there.

"Portrait of the pianist Countess Louise Mercy d * Argento"

I.E. Repin. "Portrait of the pianist Countess Louise Mercy d * Argento" (1890)

Another "victim" of Repin was the Countess Louise Mercy d'Arzhanto, whose portrait Repin painted in 1890. True, we should not forget that at that time the Frenchwoman, who first introduced the Western public to the music of the young Russian school, was seriously ill and could not even pose sitting.

Portrait of Mussorgsky

I.Ye.Repin. "Portrait of Mussorgsky

The portrait of the great composer Modest Mussorgsky was written by Repin in just four days - from March 2 to March 4, 1881. The composer died on March 6, 1881. True, it is hardly appropriate to talk about mysticism here. The artist arrived at the Nikolaev military hospital immediately after he learned of a friend's deadly illness in the winter of 1881. He immediately hurried to him to write a lifetime portrait.Here, mystical fans clearly confuse the cause with the effect.

These are mystical and not very stories associated with the paintings of Ilya Repin.

Well, let us then find out what kind of famous “Repin's painting - Sailed!”

The expression “Repin's painting“ Sailed ”has become a real idiom that characterizes the stalemate. The picture that has become part of folklore really exists. But Ilya Repin has nothing to do with her.

The picture, which popular rumor ascribes to Repin, was created by artist Solovyov Lev Grigorievich (1839-1919). The canvas is called “Monks. Not there we stopped. The painting was painted in the 1870s, and until 1938 entered the Sumy Art Museum.

“Monks. Not there we stopped. L. Solovyov.


In the 1930s, the picture hung at a museum exhibition next to the paintings of Ilya Repin, and visitors decided that this canvas also belonged to the great master. And then another and assigned a sort of "popular" name - "Sailed."

The plot of the picture Solovyov - the scene of swimming. Someone else is undressing on the beach, someone is already in the water. Several women in the picture, beautiful in their nakedness, go into the water. The central figures of the paintings are frightened by the unexpected meeting of the monks, whose boat brought an insidious current to the bathers.

The young monk froze with oars in his hands, not knowing how to react. The elderly shepherd smiles - “Say, they sailed!” The artist miraculously managed to convey emotions and amazement on the faces of a participant in this meeting.

Lev Solovyov - an artist from Voronezh - is not widely known to a wide circle of painting fans. According to the information that came about him, he was a modest, industrious, philosophical person. He loved to write everyday scenes from the life of ordinary people and landscapes.

Very few works of this artist have reached our time: several studies in the Russian Museum, two paintings in the gallery of Ostrogozhsk and the genre painting “Shoemakers” in the Tretyakov Gallery.

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  • Myths and truth in Burlaki on the Volga

    Myths and truth in Burlaki on the Volga

    Myths and truth in Burlaki on the Volga

    Myths and truth in Burlaki on the Volga

    Myths and truth in Burlaki on the Volga

    Myths and truth in Burlaki on the Volga

    Myths and truth in Burlaki on the Volga

    Myths and truth in Burlaki on the Volga

    Myths and truth in Burlaki on the Volga

    Myths and truth in Burlaki on the Volga

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