Description of the picture:
Laughter – Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoy. 1870-1880. Canvas, oil. Three hundred seventy three x five hundred one cm
Ivan Kramskoy addressed the figure of Christ more than once. His most famous canvas on a religious theme is “Christ in the Desert”.
It would seem that such a profound work conveys all the philosophical thoughts of its author, but the painter was not enough. His letter has been preserved to the artist Fedorov Vasiliev, where he mentions the need to write more of Jesus, and not even him, but the crowd laughing at their full strength, with the forces of “their enormous lung animals.”
The idea was great and large-scale, so the painter did not dare to start work for a long time, and having started, he worked on the painting twelve hours a day until the end of his days. However, no matter how Kramskoy tried, the plan triumphed. The author could not cope with the multi-figure composition, and this very upset him, even tormented him.
Even an unfinished canvas is striking in its grandeur. Heroes in the square look like actors on the stage of the opera stage. The architectonics of the composition consists of horizontal lines broken by sharp verticals. Each hero is endowed with a psychological characteristic to present the viewer with one unified feeling – anger, cruelty. Among the warriors and the crowd, the figure of Christ is simply lost.
The picture is full of expression, relief and novelty with a delicate historical flair. “Laughter” received admiring reviews of many contemporaries, including Ilya Repin."