“The village religious procession at Easter” was Vasily Grigorievich Perov written in 1861. At this time of reforms and transformations, in the year of the abolition of serfdom, the artist sought, through a realistic plot, to convey subtle criticism of modern Russian society. He took it upon himself to dare to denounce some of the vices of his contemporaries on this canvas.
When the picture appeared before the eyes of the esteemed audience, it produced a deep shock on the guests of the exhibition. Here religion is intertwined with everyday life, uninspired and prosaic. The unflattering scene caused a lot of negative comments on the author’s share, including from the government. Society demanded to remove the shameful picture from the museum, and only thanks to Pavel Tretyakov, it remained in its place.
We see the evening twilight after the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ. The picture appearing before our eyes does not leave a pleasant impression. All the heroes of the canvas, to put it mildly, are not quite sober. The priest, who was drunk and starving, looked down, his face flushed, the cloak casually thrown over the clothes. He walks unsteadily down the steps of a wooden Russian hut. In the foreground is a peasant in a bright scarf that pulls the words of prayer. Next to her is an old man, in his hands he holds an icon, which he did not even bother to turn his head upwards. All this funny, intoxicating procession leads the way to the church.
Seeing a mockery of religion in the canvas is not quite right. The author tried to convey not a mockery of the faith, but only the “dead” faith of the modern clergy and people. Clergy officials do not seek the blessings of the Lord. They are aimed at personal gain, which is obtained at the expense of authority among the people. Their robes become a kind of cover from the sins of the burning of morality.