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The basis of Repin's painting was a historical event in 1676. Then the Cossacks of the free Zaporizhzhya Sich guarded the country from the Turks. Sultan Mahmud IV sent a letter to the Zaporizhzhya Cossacks, offering to surrender to him without resistance. Wanting to frighten the Cossacks, the Turkish sultan cited many of his titles in the title of the letter. The Cossacks only laughed at the pompous style of writing. Well, they wrote their own, very caustic answer to the Sultan.
The picture came out dynamic, but its composition at the same time seems balanced. In the foreground are the canvases - Zaporizhzhya Cossacks, who gathered at a table nailed together in haste. The artist, as it were, “cuts off” some of the figures, allowing the viewer to mentally “widen” the panorama of the picture. Bonfires and a campground are visible in the background.
You can’t find the main character in the picture, many Cossacks are represented here, and each of them is colorful in its own way. Each was painted with such care, as if the artist created only his portrait.
Their weapons, suits, tubes and flasks for wine are perfectly drawn, the Ukrainian bandura is noteworthy ... And, of course, such a picture cannot do without folk humor! The brave Cossacks laughed heartily, anticipating how the Sultan would read their letter, how enraged by their courageous trick! And that they should have these ranks of the Sultan, if they have already routed his troops more than once.
The comrades-in-arms compose their message together. The clerk smiles maliciously and, squinting, displays cheerful words on paper that the other Cossacks vied with him, rejoicing at their well-aimed expressions. The emotions experienced by the characters in the picture, as if splashing on the viewer. The canvas seems to sparkle with unrestrained fun. And in each of the characters you can guess the dare, and the heroic spirit, and independence. This is the great cohesion and strength of the partnership of the Cossacks.
Painting The Return of the Prodigal Son Rembrandt