Russian Art

Ivanov, A. A. Appearance of Christ to the People. 1836 - 1855

This canvas is a smaller, autographed version of Alexander Ivanov's principal work, "The Appearance of Christ to the People" (1837-1858). The large canvas (212-1/2" x 295-1/4"), now in the collection of the State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, was prepared for, in part, by Ivanov's "Appearance of Christ to Mary Magdalene after the Resurrection" (see ImageBase) Never really completed, the masterwork was begun in Rome, remained in the artist's studio for 20 years, and then accompanied him back to St. Petersburg shortly before his death. Ivanov chose the episode because he felt it embraced the religious, historical, and philosophical ideas with which he was most concerned: the spiritual and moral transformation of mankind. The painting combines a number of separate events in the Gospel: the preaching of St. John in the foreground and his baptism of the people and the coming of Christ in the distance. Ivanov made many drawings and painted sketches for the final unfinished canvas, including some superb plein-air nature studies, executed in the Pontine marshes of Rome, which the artist felt best resembled the area around the Jordan River. Despite the fact that it was never completed, the epic nature of the canvas inspired many Russian painters of the later nineteenth century. (00231)
Copyright ©. George Mitrevski. Auburn University.