“Priam, asking Achilles for Hector’s body,” Ivanov, “overview of the painting

“Priam, asking Achilles for Hector’s body,” Ivanov, “overview of the painting
“Priam, asking Achilles for Hector’s body,” Ivanov, “overview of the painting - 1

  • Posted by Alexander Andreevich Ivanov
  • Museum: Tretyakov Gallery
  • Year: 1824

Overview of the painting :

Priam, asking Achilles for Hector’s body – Alexander Andreevich Ivanov. Oil on canvas. 119 x 124.7 cm

   AND. Ivanov painted this picture at the age of 18, as a student at the Imperial Academy of Arts. For her, a young artist was awarded a small gold medal, which was a high appreciation of the student’s skills.

   The painting was written in the style of academicism, which involved masterly in painting technique, but Ivanov already then proved himself to be an extraordinary artist. Work depicts the moral suffering of heroes and surprises with a deep psychological interpretation.

   The plot of the work was the episode of Homer’s Iliad, narrating about the old Priam, who secretly appeared to Achilles to ask him to return the body of his dead son Hector for burial. Hector killed Ahilles Patroclus in battle. Upon learning of this, Achilles was very angry, called Hector to a duel and hit him. Tying the body of the dead defender of Troy to the chariot, Achilles drove him around the city walls for several days. Having found out about this, the gods were angry with the hero and ordered him to give Hector’s body to his father. The priam, the gods sent to the camp of Achilles, promising security.

   The picture depicts the moment when King Priam, with the help of Hermes, went unnoticed, made his way to the tent of Achilles. The noble elder knelt before the killer of his son and begs him to give Hector’s body for burial. On his face is sorrow and despair. Achilles has just come off his sad thoughts about a dead friend. He looks at Priam with pity, because he reminded the hero of his father. And at the same time, the pain of losing a comrade has not subsided in his heart. The urn with his ashes stands to the right of Achilles on a stone elevation. This internal moral struggle is reflected in the face of Achilles, and in the end, compassion will prevail, he will give Hector’s body to his unfortunate father.

   To the left of Priam, a little at a distance, there are be bewildered associates of Achilles Alkim and Auto Medon. In the background, in the doorway, the chariot Priamus with gifts is visible.

   The picture indicates the invisible presence of the gods: in the foreground you can see the caduce lying on the floor – Hermes’ rod, and behind the urn with dust is a marble bust of Zeus with its attribute eagle.

   AND. Ivanov in his work managed to show the emotional struggle on the faces of the heroes and revitalize the classic plot of the Iliad.