1881 Oil on canvas, Tretyakov Gallery.
In childhood, the artist witnessed the death of his father. Probably, the experiences of a six-year-old baby were reflected in the painting “Sick Husband” many years later. For the rest of his life, he remembered how childishly naive he asked God not to take his parent, he thought long and bitterly about something of his own, childish. From sad days in memory, grief and childhood pain were deposited for life.
The scene of the painting is a simple rustic hut. The situation of extreme poverty: the window was curtained hastily with a simple piece of cloth, instead of a bed - a lounger cut down by the owner with a straw instead of a mattress, next to it is a small shop with simple food for the patient. The viewer understands that the family lives from hand to mouth, interrupting penny earnings of men.
In the red corner, several salary icons are the only value of the owners.
A woman turns to silent faces with a prayer - her figure expresses extreme despair. On her knees, with her head humbly bowed, she asks her husband to get rid of the disease, to prevent trouble. She has no one else to ask for; there is no hope for the doctor’s help and treatment - she has no money.
Fishing hooks and snatches of nets are scattered on the floor - the artist depicted a peasant house on the Volga. He often ran into the Volga region himself - looked after an interesting nature, rested, probably fishing.
Understandable female despair - the breadwinner, the only worker in the family, was tired. The husband fished - by catch and fed, and earned a living.
In the picture, every detail, every stroke is filled with sympathy for what is happening. The artist’s emotions helped him create a real masterpiece - it was not for nothing that the canvas made a splash in society with its appearance and became a landmark event in the art world.
The canvas received the highest praise from V.V. Stasov - the venerable critic was struck by the work of Maximov.
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