“The funeral of the firstborn”, Nikolai Alexandrovich Yaroshenko – overview of the painting

“The funeral of the firstborn”, Nikolai Alexandrovich Yaroshenko – overview of the painting
“The funeral of the firstborn”, Nikolai Alexandrovich Yaroshenko - overview of the painting - 1

  • Posted by Nikolay Alexandrovich Yaroshenko
  • Museum: Kharkov Art Museum
  • Year: 1893

Overview of the painting :

The funeral of the first-born is Nikolay Alexandrovich Yaroshenko. Oil on canvas.
   The painting “The Funeral of the Firstborn” was written in 1893. It is known that in the 1880s a significant change of subject was outlined in the artist’s work: if before he paid attention to the feat of man, now human fate came to the fore. A painter in his canvases often tries to decide what power makes a person who has all the same inclinations as he has reached the top of the social ladder suffer and work dozens of times more than others.

   At the same time, an abyss lay between the depicted realities and the audience. The paintings helped to learn that the life of a simple worker is full of hardships that wealthy people are deprived of, and to be imbued with compassion for him.

   At the end of the 19th century, the main medical problem was high infant mortality. Everyone, regardless of their social status, could face the death of their beloved child.

   The picture builds a bridge between people from wealthy families who, it would seem, have nothing to do with commoners, and people. It becomes clear that humanity is united in that it experiences love for children and sorrow from their loss.

   The canvas depicts a pair burying a firstborn. The faces of the husband and wife are overcast. The death of a child, especially the first and especially the newborn, is an incomparable suffering. I recall the words of U. The teckera, who talked about the fact that we suffer most from the death of a just born creature that has not yet managed to find out in whose heart we did not have time to take a worthy place.

   Next follows the undertaker, as if there was nothing smoking pipe. He has seen many deaths in his lifetime and now takes them for granted. He understands that dying befell every born person, the years of work made his view of life philosophical.

   In all the works of Yaroshenko, a moral basis can be traced. Beauty in the name of himself was alien to him – he always tried to put exalted ideals and feelings into his creations.