The painting “Under Blagovest” was painted by Nesterov under the impression of a trip in the summer of 1895 through the old Russian cities. The artist was delighted with the ancient “highly artistic”, as he said, temples and the historical atmosphere that they preserved.
The original idea of Nesterov was to convey the difference in the characters of the two monks immersed in prayer. One of them, the old one, has gone deep into the Holy Scriptures and with all his heart poetically experiences it. The other, young, is sober, scholastic, and is not alien to practical thoughts about a church career. Fortunately, the artist abandoned the literary and even anecdotal nature of his original intention, did not engage in the transmission of polar characters by means of psychological analysis. The main thing in the picture is the unity of the poetic mood of people and the landscape, not disturbed by critical notes. An important role here is played by the repetition of expressive black monastic silhouettes, echoing the rhythm of thin spring birches in the background. In the depths – one of those ancient churches that Nesterov admired in Pereslavl-Zalessky, Yaroslavl, Uglich, Rostov the Great. The soft rays of the setting sun make its innocent motley colors shine brighter. The mood of the spring awakening of nature also captures people who have abandoned worldly vanity – it is not for nothing that a young monk holds a fluffy willow twig in his hand. Both monks are “dreamers”, wrote Nesterov about his already finished painting. The artist Isaac Levitan, fascinated by her poetry, told Nesterov that he “made him come to terms with the monks.” The title of this work “Under Blagovest” was coined by the writer V.S. Soloviev.
Vasily Rozanov wrote that Nesterov “took out of the heart of a Russian person a prayer in special circumstances and his own, and clothed it in historical colors, in a historical way of life. She is personal, impetuous, glowing, not flickering. “
It is interesting to compare two paintings by Nesterov – “Silence” and “Under the Blagovest”. In both there is a theme of duality, which later developed in the paintings “Two Frets” and “Philosophers”. The monks stand at some distance from each other, and this distance becomes for Nesterov a space of prayer and silence. In “Silence” this distance is greater, and peace and grace are felt deeper.
Year of painting: 1895.
Dimensions of the painting: 159 x 124 cm.
Writing technique: oil.
Genre: genre painting.
Gallery: State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.