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Bathing the red horse - Kuzma Sergeevich Petrov-Vodkin. 160x186
In 1912 at the exhibition "World of Art" appeared K. Petrov-Vodkin’s painting “Bathing the Red Horse”, which the public, and artists, and critics took as a sign of renewal. At the beginning of the 1910s, when old ideas about art were obsolete, and rough throwings took place in the artistic environment, the painting “Bathing the Red Horse” was for many an idea that could reconcile old and new, “left” and “right”, academics and Miriskusnikov.
The artist “built” a monumental work, giving it “programmability”, finding a significant form that can express a deep and capacious content. The painting became a model of artistic integrity, the absolute embodiment of an artistic solution, which at the beginning of the 20th century was a rare occurrence in Russian painting. It organically combined a variety of traditions - Old Russian icons and monumental murals of the Renaissance, decorative art, the Art Nouveau style and almost classical plastic in the interpretation of figures.
The space of the picture is organized in such a way that thanks to the high horizon, which is as it were outside the composition itself, it rises and actually extends to the viewer, limiting itself to the plane of the canvas. At the same time, the depth does not disappear: the viewer feels it thanks to a large-scale reduction in the background figures. The author seems to be polemicizing with impressionistic painting techniques, which many artists were under the charm of at that time, remains aloof from the cubist principle of form transformation, and he is not interested in futuristic experiments.
Another feature of this picture is characteristic of all the work of Petrov-Vodkin: despite the fact that the plot of the work is deliberately household (bathing a horse), it does not have a story about the event. And although the plot is quite obvious, the painter manages to raise it to some ideal image. One of the tricks with which he achieves his goal is the interpretation of color, primarily the main figure (red horse). However, there is no "poster" with its deliberate catchiness. Rather, there are traditions of ancient Russian art: a red horse is often found on icons (red is beautiful). The clearly felt pathetics of the picture, the expression of spirituality as a deeply internal state, make it the embodiment of the national Russian worldview. The easel work, due to its inner significance, spiritual content and the absence of random details, is perceived as a monumental creation.