“Unequal Marriage” by Perov.. Arts is the eye of society |  Gulf newspaper

“Unequal Marriage” by Perov.. Arts is the eye of society | Gulf newspaper

Sharjah: Aladdin Mahmoud

Since ancient times, art has played an important role in monitoring the transformations and changes taking place in societies, and the prevailing customs and traditions, in order to raise the status of the good, to judge what is contrary and to call for combating it; This indicates the artists’ adherence to their societies, and their continuous work for the advancement and development of these societies.

The Russian artist, Vasily Grigorievich Perov (1833-1882), is one of the most prominent painters who created new ideas. Where realism revolted against the brightly colored, emotional, exaggerated and dramatic artistic themes of the Romantic movement, instead it sought to faithfully and accurately portray typical real people and situations, not avoiding the unpleasant or shameful aspects of life, the movement aimed to focus on the imperfect themes and events that previously not accepted in works of art; The realistic works depict people of all walks of life in ordinary life situations, often reflecting the changes brought about by the industrial and commercial revolutions. Realism was primarily concerned with things as they appeared, rather than being immersed in the ideal world.

The painting “Unequal Marriage”, painted by Perov in 1862, belongs to his realist and social themes. He was known for his interest in marginalized classes that suffer as a result of social inequality; He himself belonged to a family working in agriculture, and he knew a lot about the lives of ordinary people first-hand, so he was concerned about the problems of society, and this painting is the height of the artist’s social activity, as it resulted from his contemplation of reality and worn traditions, and most of his attention was focused on contemplation of what Being, and its reflection on the scenes of daily life, and perhaps the uniqueness in this painting is the presence of the artist himself inside the marriage scene; He who stands behind the bride; Some critics considered the work to be autobiographical, and that the image of the young man is the image of the artist himself, as he contemplates that strange moment full of contradictions.

a description

In this painting, the artist depicts a scene of a wedding ceremony, in a dark-looking church, between an old man and a girl who looks not happy at all, and the painter himself appears behind the bride on the far right, hands folded and absent-minded, in front of him the bride stands sad and desperate, Borev is believed to have painted himself in the audience, which indicates that the story depicts a painful love story in his personal life; That is, the bride may be his lover, but a wealthy and elderly person has snatched her from him, the man standing to the right of the bride, and looking at her coldly and indifferently, while a small number of elderly attendees gather.

The painting is full of contradictory feelings, and strange situations, as the bride extends her hand helplessly to the priest who will announce her as the wife of a rich but old man, while cruelty is evident in the features of the elderly groom who holds a candle, and looks unpleasant as his face is full of wrinkles, and does not seem interested in the tears of the bride who are shedding With her face about him, and it is clear that the artist excelled in making the bride show her helplessness and weakness, she is in the painting as if she was a child who had just begun to transform into a girl, her appearance filled with the charm of youth, and she appears painted with smooth lines at the level of the face and shoulders, while her white dress seems to be the brightest element in this sad scene. While she symbolizes youth and vigor, the groom is a symbol of old age and withering, and in the face of that reality, the viewer finds himself in front of a contract for sale in which the attendees participate, and in front of an outright crime against this young girl.


The painting raises in the mind of the viewer many questions such as: Who is that girl? And who is that melancholy handsome man standing behind her, who gives the old man a look full of hatred? And from that old, or even at first invisible woman to the left of the groom, why is she so strange? Also, what about the fact that most of the attendees are elderly? The painting also extracts the sympathy of the viewer, who finds himself in front of a completely bleak moment.


The skill of drawing is evident in the accurate depiction of the girl’s innocence, by showing her swollen eyes from a lot of crying, she does not look at the priest who is preparing to wear her wedding ring, and it seems as if she is slowly losing strength, even the candle in her left hand imagines that it is about to fall, and the artist He excelled in showing astonishment on the faces, as well as the obvious frown on the face of the elderly woman who appears in a ghostly image. Borev excelled in drawing the details of the wedding dress, extending the shadow and light, and the best details of the prayer rug on the priest’s shoulder, and deliberately employing dark colors to show the tragic situation; From an unequal marriage, which culminated in a mature and complete painting, with a clear and direct message.

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