Collection: Appearance of Christ to the People

ARTIST: Museum Religious Art Classics


Artist: Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov – c. 1837 – 1857

The painting alludes to several stories in the Bible. In the center of the painting John the Baptist, wearing an animal skin, is standing on the banks of the River Jordan. He points towards the figure of Jesus in the distance, approaching the scene. To the left stands the young John the Apostle, behind him St. Peter, and further on Andrew the Apostle and Nathanael.

In the foreground are people who watch the scene unfold but are undecided what to do, both young and old men. In the center there is a wealthy man who was too rich to follow Christ and a slave, about whom Ivanov remarked that he meant to depict people who experienced, after a life in despair and suffering, "joy for the first time". To the right there is a figure, that stands nearest to Jesus, who was depicted as the painter's good friend, the writer Gogol. Before the wanderer with a staff seated not far from John, is a figure seated with a red headgear. The figure is a self-portrait; the artist has captured his own features on the canvas.