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Dark people - Konstantin Apollonovich Savitsky. Canvas, oil.
The Russian realist artist Konstantin Apollonovich Savitsky became famous mainly for his genre paintings with subtle psychological characteristics. One of these works is the painting Dark People. The painting was conceived back in the 70s - sketches were preserved. However, the master completed the work only after 10 years. This is so in the spirit of Savitsky: get carried away with ideas, try, switch to another, so that after returning to your plan.
The artist depicts in a boat three men whose profession is infinitely far from noble. Robbers, smugglers, runaway convicts? The author calls them simply “dark people”, inviting the viewer to decide for himself who is in front of them.
The faces of the heroes are deliberately rude, extremely wary. It seems that nature echoes their state - you can notice a hard immovable sedge, the thickets of which almost cover the sun.
Savitsky almost never noted any nationality in the heroes. But in the picture presented, you can notice the earring in the ear of one of the robbers, as well as the ornate hilt of the dagger, plugged into the belt. This is a clear hint that men belong to a dashing cohort of robber Cossack freemen.
Suspicious faces in the boat look quite bloodthirsty - shaggy eyebrows, prickly looks, a beard. Here is one reached for a gun, the youngest. At his knee the old robber was imposingly spread. He is dressed in outlandish oriental clothing, which once was beautiful and rich, and now resemble rags.
After a traveling exhibition, where the Dark People were first introduced, Savitsky rewrote the canvas, slightly softening the gross features of the characters.
It is known that the painter duplicated some of his works, presenting them to his friends. This picture remained in a single copy. In 1891, Savitsky's friend, collector I. Tsvetkov, asked me to double for him, but the author limited himself to just a sketch.