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"Riders" - a relatively little-known picture of M.V. Until recently, the picture remained unknown (by the available images it can be judged that it was stored in a folded position).
Perhaps the picture is a sketch for an unwritten large canvas. This can be judged by some freedom of drawing and lack of detail, uncharacteristic of other works of the artist.
The plot is based on the famous Trinity siege, one of the many battles of the Time of Troubles. The monumentality of the plot is emphasized by the vertical format of the picture. In its center are the monastery towers, as if seeking upward. This upward movement can be seen in the whole picture, even in a small tree in the lower corner. And this monumentality is crossed out by three dark riders on white horses. These are schema elders sent to Moscow with news of the siege.
According to one legend, these three elders are students of Sergius of Radonezh, who died two centuries earlier. Partly because of this, some unreality of what is happening is felt. Enemies saw only three monks on thin horses, rushing, as if winged.
The white color of horses symbolizes purity, truth. The halo over their heads is holiness. This is one of the main ideas of the picture "Riders".
Black cloaks are the traditional robe of the monks. Their color contrasts with horses and snow, attracting the viewer's eye to the main characters of the canvas.
Nesterov found one of the most original and expressive ways to convey this legend. For the artist himself, the composition is also quite unusual. There are no large figures in the foreground and endless expanses. Perhaps this is only part of a huge unwritten canvas.
Unlike composition, the color scheme for Nesterov is quite characteristic. There is a lot of snow and purple-violet shades.
Hell Dante Painting