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Thoughts about this picture tormented the artist for several years - I wanted to find the perfect composition, ideal heroes to achieve the goal. The goal was not easy to achieve - Johanson wanted to show the difference between the Communists and the whites, an irreconcilable contrast between the social strata, who want different things, have different lives and have completely different, and sometimes opposite, hopes.
The first impetus was seen in the theater, where the artist at one time worked as a props, a performance. There was nothing left of him but a girl in a short fur coat who was interrogated by some completely unremarked enemies.
The second push was later, in the museum, where a picture was shown in which whites interrogated the communist. After that, a click came up in Johanson's head, a girl in a short fur coat surfaced, and the compositional plan was ready. At first, however, the sketches were oversaturated with details. The Communists seemed too suffering for them - beaten, tied, too oiled white, the situation was too abundant on trifles.
The second batch was better - the situation faded, the Communists became stricter, getting rid of the obsessive halo of martyrdom, but the whites remained blurred and slurred.
Only on the third attempt did Johanson finally find what satisfied him.
In a hut of a prosperous peasant - a fist - amid carpets, luxury goods, whites interrogate the captured communists. They stand in the middle of the room, as if advancing from a slightly blurry background.
A man stands, raising his chin slightly, expressing contempt and willingness to die with all appearance. The hands behind him are most likely tied, but this cannot be understood by his posture. The girl next to him looks like. She has a peasant face, a heavy figure, but it does not matter - with the same neglect, she looks at the interrogators.
White is depicted more repulsive. The officer in the expensive chair - the adjutant, who has spread out with a folded neck, does not give a damn about everything, he looks at the papers, and the Cossack, esaul with the stack, seems to be barely restraining himself so as not to hit the prisoners in the faces. The contrast is clear, intuitive, obvious and sharp.
Painting Big Water