Vasily Perov’s painting “Sermon in the Village”, written in 1861, was the artist’s diploma work. For this work, Perov received a gold medal and the opportunity to travel abroad.
In the painting, the artist depicted a priest preaching a sermon in a rural church. He stretched out one hand to heaven, the other points to a rather well-fed landowner, thus opposing spiritual values to earthly ones. In his painting “Sermon in the Village” Perov brought together almost all segments of the population – he wants to show the reaction of different people to circumstances. On the left side of the picture, the artist depicted a small group of peasants. A man with a beard looks with complete indifference at the priest, the back of his head with another scale. It is clear that the preacher’s speeches pass their ears, and they do not care what he says. The fat landowner, whom the priest points to, does not pay attention to the fiery speeches of the priest – he is peacefully dozing. Next to him sits a young lady who is also completely uninterested in sermons: she, hiding behind a prayer book, secretly talks with a man behind her, who is whispering something in her ear. The only grateful listeners to the priest’s sermons are children, but due to their age, they hardly understand anything in his speeches.
Vasily Perov painted the painting Sermon in the Village in 1861, the year of the abolition of serfdom. And, responding to this event, he put a hidden meaning into the picture – in the background, the artist depicted peasants who are waiting for the announcement of the manifesto of freedom.
Year of painting: 1861.
Dimensions of the painting: 69.3 x 59.3 cm.
Writing technique: oil.
Genre: genre painting.
Gallery: State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia.