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Vladimir Makovsky in his painting “On the Boulevard”, which he painted in 1877, touched on one of the most acute problems in Russia of that time, which now may seem distant and irrelevant, but it should have seemed typical to contemporaries.
The main problem of the picture is the departure of peasants in the city to earn money. The breadwinner was forced to leave his family: parents, wife, children, life without them was broken, family ties were weakened and even lost, and the usual foundations of the village world were crumbling, as was the patriarchal world.
The main characters of the work “On the Boulevard” are the wife, who came to her young husband in Moscow, and the husband himself, who, like many others, went to the city to earn money and changed beyond recognition. Such changes in the behavior of the faithful surprised and saddened the girl who arrived with the hope to share everything that had accumulated with her husband. But, having come to the boulevard and sat on the bench, he seemed not to notice his beloved.
City life took possession of him: here he is, a big-eyed and tipsy, imposingly lounging, plays the harmonica, while not thinking about anything and about anyone except himself and his appearance. He is ruddy and pleased with himself, which cannot be said about his wife: saddened by irreparable changes, she was hunched over and looked into the distance in hopelessness. Perhaps she is ashamed of her beloved, maybe she regrets the loss of her soulmate, and, of course, it is very difficult for her to realize that she is useless. The whole picture unfolds against the backdrop of an autumn city landscape: trees with fallen leaves, gray sky and roofs of houses with small snowy patches; which adds even more drama to her.
The canvas, small in size and plot, contained a lot of thoughts, experiences, observations of the artist. Yes, the picture is somewhat irrelevant today, but this does not prevent us from being imbued with her idea and sympathy for the girls of those times who find themselves in a similar situation, as well as their families.
Picture Carpet Aircraft Vasnetsova