The painting “The Old Man Gardener” is an excellent example of a rural portrait. Surikov preferred to paint pictures on historical subjects, but if the master decided to depict a simple rural person, he would invest all his soul in this work. Before us is a peasant. His gray-haired, pack-beard and sun-bleached hair help us to understand that this man has lived for quite a few years. Immediately it is clear that Surikov with warmth and sympathy refers to the heavy peasant labor.
The man has dirty, old clothes. White, belted with a dark rope, shirt, dark wide pants. No shoes, apparently, this is too much luxury for a poor peasant. Feet rough, dirty, but surely stand on the ground.
The man stood up against the sun and his hand trying to cover his eyes from the bright, scorching light. His skin completely darkened from the constant stay in the sun. Seeing this peasant, the only question that arises is: where is he looking? Surikov does not give us the answer to this exciting question. The man’s gaze is directed forward, but we do not know what is there. Perhaps he looks around his garden and sadly thinks about how much more work he has to do.
To the right of the human figure are plants. Probably, these are young shoots of root crops, which were carefully planted on the beds. Soon you will have to go back to work again to harvest. For a man is a small haystack, which prudently covered with burlap. Immense fields and a small island of trees that protects the crop from the winds go far away.
Surikov refused the unreality of the color solution. All colors are very natural, natural. Careful drawing drapery fabric gives the picture extra relief.