Paintings

Description of the painting by Nikolai Ge “Conscience. Judas"


1891; canvas, oil; 149 × 210; Tretyakov Gallery.

Painting Conscience. Judas of Nikolai Nikolayevich Ge refers the viewer to the biblical story of the thirteenth apostle who sold his Master for thirty silver coins. The exposition, tones and colors that were used to create this canvas were very peculiar: a dark, almost black picture suppresses and disturbs with its gloomy, depressing atmosphere, and only a tiny reflection of living warm light flickers in the distance. Where the barely distinguishable figures of people have gone away on a stone road.

The central character of the picture, in which Judas is indicated, stands in the foreground, with his back to the viewer, completely wrapped in a long robe. He is completely hidden, but even his posture expresses the devastation of broken hopes. The deal did not bring him enrichment; Judas is lonely and abandoned. He stands in the faded rays of the moon, gazing into the distance, at a life that slowly leaves him, together with a group of people leading Christ to the coming judgment and crucifixion. It seems that in these moments he is keenly undergoing a spiritual breakdown, recalls what he owned and what is now completely lost to him. Judas is rejected from the society of people, which is visible in every small detail of the picture.

His loneliness and alienness are emphasized by the play of light and shadow. The expressiveness of the composition is especially striking in contrast to the lighting chosen by the artist. These are two points to which attention, against the will, draws attention. The large spot of the whitish night light, ghostly and cold, in which Judas bathes, is as if opposed to the warm, lively, albeit alarming glow of fire that people carry in the far part of the picture.

The composition of the study is interestingly built: the road and two lighting points create a direct tunnel, traveling along which, the viewer's eyes are plunged into the world created by the artist’s brush.





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