Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoy was an excellent portrait painter, was fond of genre painting and was a successful critic. Before entering the Academy of Arts, located in the city of St. Petersburg, he was engaged in retouching photographs.
The master worked on the Laughter canvas for five years for 10-12 hours daily. The painting depicts a story from the Gospel related to the Holy Cycle. Christ is already depicted after the judgment of the Fifth Procurator of Judea, the Horseman Pontius Pilate. He was dressed in a funny king, beaten and laughed at him.
The picture carries the tragedy of a plebeian society that supports power devoid of morality. It is this society, faced with a spiritual and developed man, is ready to destroy him in the most cruel way.
Jesus in this case appears in a certain collective way of a man who, for the sake of his holy principles, is ready for anything. The plot poses an edge to the viewer with the problem of choice that arises before each intelligent person in a society without democracy and education.
The final work size is impressive - 4 by 5 meters. In the background is a large stone wall. On a small hill stands Jesus, surrounded by a crowd of ignoramuses. So they can better see how he suffers. Barefooted and immobilized, he does not seem to hear abuse, does not feel blows and does not hold resentment. His soul is higher than the scornful laughter of a raging crowd.
The artist was extremely upset and burdened by the difficult financial situation of his family. As a result, he was forced to constantly postpone work on the picture. Kramskoy undertook portraits and still lifes in order to get at least some means of survival. However, again and again, he returned to the "Laughter."
Gustave Courbet Pictures