Description of the picture:
Tsar Ivan Vasilievich Grozny – Victor Mikhailovich Vasnetsov. 1897. Oil on canvas. 247×132
The king, for the convinced monarchist Vasnetsov, is a sacred figure, the anointed of God, the Sovereign benefactor. Therefore, it makes no sense to judge the compliance of a portrait with historical realities. But what a fantasy!
Ivan Vasilievich walks up the stairs of his chambers. His gaze is heavy, stern, menacing. But there is no rage, painful cruelty in him. Vasnetsov gives us the image of a wise king, statesman. The golden color of the monarch’s fur coat even more emphasizes its exclusivity, grandeur, proximity to the mountain world.
Firmly the sovereign clutches his rod in his hands. This is not a staff, not a support. In the hands of Ivan the Terrible – this is a weapon. This rod interrupted the life of the heir to the throne, pierced the foot of the servant of Prince Kurbsky, the sworn tsar’s enemy. This rod also walked on the boyars’ backs. In the best case, only a rod … In the other хэнд of Ivan Vasilyevich there is a rosary, a symbol of the deep faith and piety of the Orthodox Tsar.
Winter Moscow fell silent outside the palace window – frightened, restrained.
The red carpet under the feet of the autocrat, bloody way rulers in Russia. Another second and the foot of the formidable king will step on the image of the coat of arms of the state – the Byzantine double-headed eagle. Symbolically. Ivan Vasilyevich really managed to crush the country for himself, to redraw its structure, the control system. Make it modern, manageable. A terrible price …"