“The Supreme Cossack, escorting the peasant”, Orlovsky – overview of the painting
- Posted by Alexander Osipovich Orlovsky
- Museum: Museum of Political History of Russia
- Year: 1820s
Overview of the painting :
The upper Cossack, escorting peasant – Alexander Osipovich Orlovsky. Paper. Watercolor, mascara. 54.5 x 45 cm
In the artist’s work, the image of a warrior, a rider is extremely common. He loved to portray the horse, and the horses on his works looked alive. This is a huge gift that has been embodied in many master’s paintings.
Two characters are captured on the watercolors – an old peasant who was forced to join the militia against his will, and a professional warrior, a Cossack leading a peasant on a rope to fight for his homeland.
Cossack fulfills the order, but there is no hint of joy on his face, because in the intervals between the battles, the Cossacks, like the peasants, sowed bread and raised cattle. But the war put everyone on the same level, and the peasant torn from the earth dutifully splashes over the Cossack towards his fate.
Colorfully watercolors are solved in delicate and light colors, which are opposed by two bright color spots – a red-headed Armenian peasant and a spectacular blue-red tug of Cossack uniform. A light gray horse with dark grandmas, tail and mane harmoniously looks against the background of tender greenery, wooden buildings visible in the background, a flimsy weave and several large logs of fallen but not sawn trees. A large tree completes the picture – an old birch with a rare crown, a rough barrel and a dried branch. The delicate background, soft light colors and pale sky serve as a kind of frame for two characters.
There is nothing in the picture that would externally testify to war – no fires, no signs of destruction. Nevertheless, the direct tense look of the Cossack, looking directly into the eyes of the audience, the unhappy expression of the face of the peasant tells us a lot. These two have a long way to go with pain and death. None of them know if he will return alive, but such is their fate – they will both fully defend their homeland.