Kramskoy – “Inspection of the old house”

Started, but not finished, almost monochrome, the painting “Inspection of the Old House”, like the previous work of Kramskoy “Mermaid”, can be attributed to the genre of pictorial elegy. The story, the details of everyday life recede into the background. So it is not clear who the main character of the picture is, making his walk through the empty, uncomfortable and cold rooms of an abandoned old manor house. The master who returned after a long absence? Buyer, future owner? Or Kramskoy himself? The main thing is the silence of a long-empty house, the mood of nagging melancholy, loneliness, homelessness, spilled in the greyish-ocher haze of the canvas. The space of the rooms of an abandoned manor house becomes a space of memories, filled with thoughts, emotions of the main character of the picture, with which the author identifies himself.

“Inspection of the Old House” is a painting-farewell to life that once filled these rooms, but now has subsided and left behind a senseless handful of dead objects – armchairs in covers, paintings on the walls. In this picture, Kramskoy anticipated “Chekhov’s” moods, the dull melancholy of the 1880s, caught the moment of “the transition from one historical era to another” (Kovalevsky).

Year of painting: 1874.

Material: canvas.

Writing technique: oil.

Genre: genre painting.

Style: realism.

Gallery: State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia.

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