Painting “News from the motherland”, Leonid Osipovich Pasternak – overview

Painting “News from the motherland”, Leonid Osipovich Pasternak – overview
Painting "News from the motherland", Leonid Osipovich Pasternak - overview - 1

  • Posted by Pasternak Leonid Osipovich
  • Museum: Tretyakov Gallery
  • Year: 1889

Overview of the painting :

News from the homeland – Leonid Osipovich Pasternak. 1889. Oil on canvas. 110 x 152 cm

   The picture depicts three characters in a small simple room of the barracks. One of them lies, smokes papyros, the second sits on the bed in his legs, the third is located next to a simple wooden painted stool. All three – soldiers, two on the bed – in full shape, the third, reading the letter, is dressed in uniform trousers, boots and a white loose shirt with wide sleeves.

   The room with white walls is poorly furnished, a rough soldier’s blanket lies on a simple bed, and the walls are decorated with pictures carved from magazines, paper icons and photographs sent by relatives. An inner parade ground is visible from the window, surrounded on all sides by the same faceless whitewashed barracks.

   The life of a soldier in those days was a heavy burden, because he was “shavened” for about 7 years, and this meant for a family man to part with his family and friends, children for a long time – leaving the child a breast, he returned home and became a stranger to the child, because the main years of becoming a baby passed without a father. But a century earlier, the service life was 25 years, and before that – completely lifelong!

   Judging by the expression on the face of a soldier sitting on the bed, the letter is addressed to him and the news from his homeland is completely disappointing. The fact that another person reads it indicates that the soldier is illiterate. He holds an envelope in his hands, thinking deeply, immersed in himself.

   Particular attention to the details allowed the master to emphasize the characteristics of the life of soldiers, because in this picture, except for three living people, there are a lot of other images – each picture on the wall is a historical section, a reflection of the reality of that time.

   The artist created expressive images, choosing a rather prosaic theme for the picture, but managed to breathe life into his characters, made them truly expressive and memorable.