There are several variants of Perov’s painting “Pugachev’s Court” or “Pugachev’s revolt”. In 1879, a version of the picture appeared, where the image of Pugachev appears more significant – in the pseudo-Petra III one feels a man of great will, mind and temperament. Pugachev sits on the porch of the landlord’s house, surrounded by a crowd of his entourage, whose robber faces are extremely characteristic.
There is an oath ceremony, which is performed by a miserable, unhappy, shaking priest. In the courtyard, before Pugachev, a crowd of people is crowded, in the forefront of which there is a landlord family whose members who with desperation, who with firmness and courage await the decision of their fate. In the background, on the
Perov posed a very difficult task – to write a triptych, in which he proposed to unfold the history of the Pugachev uprising. In the first picture of the triptych, he wanted to discover the causes of the uprising, in the second – to depict the most uprising and in the third – to deal with the landowners. The artist carefully prepared for the realization of his creative plan: he read a lot about the Pugachev uprising, traveled to the Volga and the Urals, sketched out types there (“The Head of the Kirghiz”, “The Tatar’s Head”), did etudes for Pugachev. But from all the triptych he managed to write only the third picture – “Pugachev’s Court”.
For the second picture, the author had only sketches and drawings of individual figures and scenes. The composition was not realized; she appeared to the artist in the form of a mass of differently ridden horsemen, swiftly rushing to the viewer: Cossacks, Tatars and Russian peasants. The swiftness of the movement of horsemen raising clouds of dust was to create the impression of a spontaneous movement sweeping away everything in its path. The original sketch for the painting “Pugachev’s Court”, soon to be destroyed, dates back to 1873. In it, Perov depicted armed armed insurgents in the evening rural scenery, approaching the landowner’s estate, in which their leader is repairing the court and massacre.
VG Perov “Court of Pugachev.” Sketch of the painting, 1875 GIM
Soon a second sketch was written: the Pugachevites against the background of a raging fire. Burning buildings, clouds of smoke, covering the sky, a gallows, birds, anxiously rushing over the corpses of hanged…
However, the image of the main character to the artist clearly failed: Pugachev here is some faceless, inert. The people are pushed into the background. In the center in the foreground is a man bowing to Pugachev at his feet. A middle-aged nobleman with bound hands is set aside, which is held by the Kalmyk. The nobleman refuses to recognize the impostor as Tsar Peter III, and a gallows is prepared for him…
This sketch was the basis of the painting “Pugachev’s Court” (1875), the State Historical Museum. In it, the artist departed from the original design, confining himself to depicting only the scene of the court, why the scale of the event was lost. Vasily Grigorievich himself remained dissatisfied with his work and did not complete it. “Bet” of the Pugachev freemen is located in the Berdskaya Sloboda near Orenburg. Pugachev lived in the best house of the Cossacks Sitnikov, called the “Golden Chamber” in Berdy. This house is also imprinted in the picture. In 1879, there was another version of the picture, which was mentioned at the beginning of the page.