Arkady Plastov’s painting “Haymaking” is one of the artist’s most famous works, which he painted in 1945. The painting depicts the very height of summer, a flowering meadow enchants the viewer with its bright colors, it seems that the work is filled with sounds: braids sing, grasses and leaves rustle, birds chirp, insects buzz. Summer in the village, even for children, is not just rest and vacations – it is work and help for the whole family. In the village, haymaking, as a rule, began in the middle of summer – July. The peasants spent whole days in the field, working harmoniously, encouraging themselves with songs.
The painting “Haymaking” shows the audience not only difficult peasant labor, but also a kind of unity, harmony between man and nature. It seems that the picture also conveys smells: freshly cut grass, warm fragrant breeze.
Arkady Plastov grew up in the countryside, therefore, like no one else, he was able to convey the mood and feelings of a peasant family working in the field. The teenager, cleverly wielding a scythe, does not seem at all tired, apparently, the fact is that during the recent war, having remained the head of the family, he was used to relying completely on himself only. A woman in a simple dress and a kerchief is a collective image of a peasant woman of those years. She, too, is tanned and ready for hard work – the war has tempered her too. The next character is a middle-aged man, only after returning from the war, he immediately took the economy into his own hands – you can’t hesitate, otherwise the whole family will suffer from hunger in winter. The last mower is a man in years, with a gray beard, who has gone through a lot, but he also tries to keep up with young and strong workers.
Plastov’s image accuracy can be compared with the photographic nature of Shishkin’s works, the brightness of the colors – with the works of Kustodiev, love for his native nature – with the creations of Levitan. The flower meadow is replete with a wide variety of shades: red, purple, and pink. Not without the traditional symbol of Russia – graceful slender birches.
Arkady Plastov’s painting “Haymaking” is a real hymn to native nature, peaceful life, and hardworking people. All the beauty of the summer Russian nature is not perceived here in isolation from simple peasant labor.
Year of painting: 1945.
Dimensions of the painting: 193 x 232 cm.
Writing technique: oil.
Genre: genre painting.
Style: socialist realism.
Gallery: State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia.