For more than one generation of connoisseurs of art, it was lucky to touch the greatest creation of the famous Russian artist Ilya Repin. His painting “Burlaki on the Volga” is similar to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony or Toccata and Fugue in D minor of the immortal organ-maker Johann Bach!
Burlaki, depicted in the picture, cause the viewer to dialogue. Involuntarily, looking into the eyes of the people depicted, there is a feeling of embarrassment that we now, living in comfortable conditions, enjoy watching the exhausting work of workers pulling their heavy strap through the centuries. Among the workers stretching on their shoulders a ship, a whole palette of human experiences is traced.
Here there is obedience and pride, fatigue and excitement. Someone is moving, as if in delirium, and someone no longer open their eyes, it seems like a coastal wind is blowing through the air. There is in this picture one piercing glance, “shooting” us directly into the soul. Burlak looks into our eyes, as if calling us to a sense of conscience and responsibility for the picture that unfolds before our eyes.
Ilya Efimovich depicted here the opposite side of the goodness of the luxurious life, here without embellishment is depicted what is behind the external beauty and serenity. We see on whose shoulders our world holds and thanks to whom we can enjoy the light sea breeze and rock on the waves of our smart brigantine.
The barge haulers themselves can be compared to the three whales on which our land holds. For all the lightness of the picture, in the center, the dark spot is left behind by these workers. The picture “Burlaki on the Volga” allows us to look at this world integrally, without separating from the spectrum of our perception something that we do not want to look at. Better naked truth than sweet lies. It is precisely this truth that the Repin burlaks say.