The hardest of all Surikov was given his last work – “Stepan Razin”. Razin – the leader of the peasant movement, mighty, courageous, a man of great will, uniting numerous detachments of the insurgent Cossacks and peasants who made bold hikes to the lower reaches of the Volga, along the Caspian Sea.
It is interesting that in the very first sketch of “Stepan Razin” Surikov thought to portray the ataman and his beloved – the Persian princess, to show in Razin the victory of the idea over a personal feeling, albeit strong, but insignificant before the historical affair that Razin served, for which he followed his band.
Thus, in this first sketch of the picture, a kind of return to the tragic theme of “Sagittarius” is seen. This
In the final version of the picture Stepan Razin is depicted in a huge plow, in front of him are musicians. Further open endless Volga expanses. Vzmachi oars drill water. Golden light streams from the evening sky. The faces of the Cossack oarsmen are courageous and beautiful, especially the young, with an open collar, depicted almost in profile. But all of them are still far from those important thoughts that captured Stepan. What are they talking about? Hardly about yourself and your destiny. These thoughts are significant, the great thoughts of the ataman.
Razin’s expression was the main concern of the artist. When the picture was exhibited, Surikov and at the exhibition copied his face. One day, after finishing his work, he told the familiar artist: “Today I wrote my forehead to Stepan, but now there is much more thought in him?”
The similarity of Stepan’s face to one of the last self-portraits of Surikov is striking. Surikov something from himself put in the image of Razin. Like the legendary ataman, his great Duma, Surikov embraces the historical destinies of his people, faithlessly believes in his spiritual strength, suffers with him.
“Stepan Razin” – the last great historical painting of Surikov.