The work that displayed the level of the spiritual ascent of the artist himself was his painting “The Last Inn at the Outpost” (1868). The picture is painted in gloomy tones, and only bright flashes of fire are beating in the windows, ready to break out. Kabak, this “den of debauchery,” as Perov himself believed, arises on canvas in the image of the rampant passions that devour a person, his soul. This infernal fire filled all the floors of the institution, all the space enclosed in its walls, and even touched all the nearby structures. Around the cold, horses, stagnant in the cold, wrapped in a handkerchief baba, sitting alone in a sleigh.
Judging by the chaotic rhythm of the tracks from the sleigh, snow-blowing snow, the institution is not empty either day
And very close lay a wide road that leads beyond the city. It rises along the hill, past the border pillars, past the inconspicuous church, lost behind the trees, as if covered by them from a worldly stench. It stands, tiny, near the road, on the right, on the very top of the hill. And here, on the same line, the painter puts out the departing train, from which no one turned to the church. horses, drooping their heads, as if ashamed, go by. The convoy drifts steeply to the left, leaving behind itself thick shadows, which, covering the road, drag along the ground with a black train.
It is noteworthy that the scale of the church given by the artist implies its ultimate removal. And with the distance between the outpost and the temple is extremely small, so that its image is spatially approximate. As a result, there is a glaring discrepancy between the scale of the church and the border pillars, which immediately grow to incredible, gigantic proportions, evidencing the apparent loss of the image of the church from the general perspective of construction. And yet, there are no violations
Unfortunately, contemporaries saw in the picture only a “diatribe”. While here, as Perov himself defined, the “inner, moral side” of human existence, which was most important for him, was focused here.
Perov has never risen to such generalizations. And the very idea of choice as a person’s moral self-determination has never been formulated so clearly and frankly in Russian art.
The painting “The last tavern at the outpost”, having summed up a certain sum of everything that the artist did in previous years, has become in many respects a milestone, and not only for him. Having put the religious principle in the basis of his art, the artist raised the genre itself to such heights that evil begins to be interpreted not only and even not so much socially as morally, as a deadly ulcer that corrupts human souls. The moral dimension of evil is this new thing that Vasily Perov brought to the domestic art. The pathos of the art of the master is not in exposing evil as such, but in the necessity and possibility of man in himself to resist evil, in affirming that inner, spiritual power that can lift a person above adversity, grief and humiliation.