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The work “Skirmish with Finnish Smugglers” by Vasily Khudyakov is of interest, primarily, because, along with the painting “Temptation” by the artist Nikolai Gustavovich Schilder, laid the foundation for the famous Tretyakov Gallery. May 10, 1856 - the day of the acquisition of these works by Pavel Tretyakov is considered the date of foundation of the gallery.
The Clash with Finnish Smugglers was written in 1853. Khudyakov specialized in historical and portraiture. Images of the master were not rich in emotionally strong and interesting subjects, but this was made up for by the amazing play of light, the relief of scenes and images captured on canvas.
The picture captures the moment of the clash between the peasants, who trade in illegal trade, and the border guard group. Many of the inhabitants of Finland were involved in the transportation of various goods, selling them by hand in Vyborg. People have avoided paying appropriate duties and taxes for years.
With the help of a clearly thought out composition, the outcome of the battle is a foregone conclusion. The doom of a group of smugglers is reflected in their mixed and fussy gestures. The remaining people ashore run in horror, trampling the scattered objects of illegal cargo. Those who managed to board the boats are trying to hide, pushing furiously and fighting for a place in the boat.
A rider breaking into the shore, flying and elevated above the others, is located diagonally, from top to bottom, emphasized by bright contrasting colors. The vivid, hidden by a haze, images of other soldiers, dense and gloomy mass approaching the crime scene, also add color to his figure.
This artistic decision enhances the effect of surprise capture and the futility of the resistance of smugglers. The vague landscape in the background is illuminated by the first predawn rays, making it possible to feel the failure of the opening scam.
Expulsion From Paradise Masaccio