Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoy was an excellent portrait painter, was fond of genre painting and was a successful critic. Before entering the Academy of Arts, located in St. Petersburg, he was involved in retouching photographs. Over the canvas “Laughter” the master worked for five years, 10-12 hours a day. The picture depicts a plot from the Gospel relating to the Passion cycle.
Christ is depicted already after the judgment of the Fifth Procurator of Judea, the Horseman Pontius Pilate. He was dressed up as a funny king, beaten and laughed at him. The painting bears the tragedy of the plebeian society, which supports the power, devoid of morality and ethics.
It is this society, faced with a spiritual and developed man, is ready to destroy him in the most cruel way. Jesus in this case appears as a kind of collective image of man who, for the sake of his holy principles, is ready for anything. The plot confronts the spectator with the problem of choice that arises before every intelligent person in a society deprived of democracy and education.
The total size of the work is impressive – 4 by 5 meters. In the background is a large stone wall. On a small hill stands Jesus, surrounded by a crowd of ignoramuses. So they see better how he suffers. Barefoot and immobilized, it is as if he does not hear swearing, does not feel blows and does not hold insults. His soul is higher than the scornful laughter of a raging mob.
The artist was extremely upset and the difficult financial situation of his family. As a result, he was forced to constantly postpone work on the picture. Kramskoy took up portraits and still lifes to get at least some means of survival. However, again and again,