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In the landscape of Alexander Ivanov, the main element is the road. It passes through the orange from the rays of the setting sun desert. The Appian Way leads to Rome.
Along its edges are visible ancient tombs topped with memorial stones. The city is still far away, it stretches somewhere there in the background. It is so far from the viewer that it is hidden by a gray haze. Nevertheless, buildings are guessed in it, the closest of which is the ancient aqueduct.
There is nothing in the desert that would prevent looking at this city panorama. That is why it seems that the viewer is in a hurry on this road to get to Rome to see all these buildings there, and, perhaps, he will no longer need to hide from the sun - it is already setting, but finding an overnight stay is necessary.
Someone of the artist’s contemporaries wrote that this creation would be perceived as a sunset of Catholicism. However, the picture does not leave such a feeling. On the contrary, in buildings viewed from afar, somewhere on the edge of the subconscious, you feel the greatness of the ancient ancient city. And even if it’s the ruins of that pagan Rome, but above them rises the dome of Peter, which is quite clearly visible through the haze. And most likely, it should symbolize the victory of Christianity over paganism.
In the background, mountains are visible. This is just a symbol of eternity and invincibility, the inviolability of nature. And even if there are no heroes in the picture itself, the viewer himself feels himself a hero, before whom “the distance is visible”. This is the same road that can only be overpowered by the one who walks, and not thinking about how to overcome it.
Therefore, the canvas is perceived as positive. It is filled with the sun and soft shadows typical of sunset. And let the path pass between the graves, somehow you don’t think about it when you go on your mental journey to Rome.
Night on the Dnieper