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V.M. Vasnetsov is widely known as an artist who embodied scenes of religious narratives on his canvases. One of these paintings is the well-known painting "The Baptism of Russia."
The canvas depicts the famous scene of 988. In the center of the picture is Vladimir Svyatoslavovich, aka Vladimir the Red Sun. Despite the religiosity of the picture, the image of Prince Vladimir does not carry the features inherent in icon painting of that time.
Vladimir is dressed in beautiful festive clothes. From the abundance of gold embroidery, the sunlight falling from heaven is reflected from his clothes. It seems that the prince emits light.
Vladimir’s face expresses several emotions - his face is focused, serious and solemn. He spreads his hands to him, emphasizing thereby the grace from the Lord descending from heaven to the people. The prince stands on a platform covered with a smart carpet. This underlines the critical importance of what is happening.
In heaven above the clouds, images of angels are visible. From heaven they watch what happens on earth. Divine light comes from the open heavens.
The prince is surrounded by many people. The closest to Vladimir Svyatoslavovich are religious ministers. They are depicted by the artist in white robes. The clergy help the prince in the sacrament of baptism. One of the ministers holds the icon of the Mother of God, another holds a large wooden cross as a symbol of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
In contrast with the magnificence of the central plan of the picture are the images of peasants. Half-naked, exhausted, they descend into the sacred waters of the river, and an elderly priest conducts the baptismal ceremony.
In the background are hundreds of thousands of faces. They all came to appear before the Lord and accept a new faith. They are afraid of this sacrament, and at the same time strive for God's grace.