1918 in Petrograd (Petrograd Madonna), Petrov-Vodkin – description

1918 in Petrograd (Petrograd Madonna), Petrov-Vodkin – description
1918 in Petrograd (Petrograd Madonna), Petrov-Vodkin - description - 1

  • Posted by Petrov-Vodkin
  • Museum: Tretyakov Gallery
  • Year: 1920

Overview of the painting :

1918 in Petrograd – Kuzma Sergeevich Petrov-Vodkin. 1920. Oil on canvas. 73 x 92

   The painting is also known under the high name Petrograd Madonna and is one of the most famous and significant in the work of Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin. The epoch picture, the historical symbol that tells us about the moods and events of the revolutionary city, amazes with its reality and simplicity.

   In the center of work is a simple woman in a snow-white scarf, pressing to the baby’s chest. Her face is like an iconopic face, and alertness and humility are read in her eyes. The kid is clearly on the hands of the tide of the tipping events of 1917. How many such mothers and children? However, despite the apparent simplicity, the figures of the heroes are considered by the viewer as iconic and symbolic.

   The heroine is perceived as the mother of all children, a silent witness to the terrible events that threw many destinies under the milk of history, giving rise to fears, poverty and deprivation. The incredible work of the painter in terms of strength! Some critics personify this woman with Russia of that period, and there are those who believe that the image is a harbinger of the more famous Rodina-Mother idiom, which will lobby much later.

   The background of the picture is also very talking. An attentive viewer will notice here leaflets flaunting on the walls – eyewitnesses of those events recalled how, behind every turn, they were greeted by the cries and revolutionary manifestos of the wall. And the crowds look very bewildered and thoughtful. Gathering in groups, people discussed pressing issues among themselves (for example, where to get bread), shared news and rumors.

   The streets of the city look too wide and therefore even more deserted, and the houses are strict and gloomy. In some places you can notice broken glass talking about the riot of the crowd. Most likely, people with all the power of their righteous anger smashed the administrative buildings of the interim government.

   In general, the architecture of the city in the picture looks majestic and refers us to the painting of the Renaissance. Such an interpretation is true and not accidental. So, Vladislav Khodasevich, a poet and famous Pushkinist, a witness to revolutionary events, insisted that Petrograd “was surprisingly buried in his misfortune.”. Petrov-Vodkin also felt it.

   The painting “1918 in Petrograd” is a cruel statement of facts. But against the background of devastation and some ringing, bewildered silence, the image of mother and baby, as a source of inexhaustible life, predicts that the future is, let and not so cloudless. The heroes of the picture are a symbol of hope, desperate and humble.