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This painting by V. Serov depicts two female figures who came to the shore of a small river to wash dirty laundry. Washing and maintaining cleanliness in the house has always been women's responsibilities, so we see how it is on a cold, winter day that women rinse their clothes in ice water. They are on their knees, bending low over the water. Women are very warmly dressed - they are wearing a winter sheepskin coat, boots, a scarf. On the right lies the washed laundry, which is waiting in line.
In the foreground we see a fast-flowing river. Traditionally, washing in Russian villages began in early spring, when the first streams were thawed. With the help of sharp strokes, Serov managed to convey the course of the river, because stagnant water is not suitable for thorough rinsing of linen. In the lower left corner is a log that fell across the river, almost forming a bridge. The river, apparently, is not deep, so people do not use special buildings for washing, but are engaged in work right on the shore of the reservoir, not afraid to fall into the water.
Just behind the women is a horse. This is not a fast, frisky horse, but rather a nag tired of the difficult village life. The horse is a little hunchbacked, stunted, more like a pony. She obediently waits for her mistresses, and at this time eats hay poured on her. Behind the horse there are sledges, on which women arrived at the river. The image of the horse is simple and understandable to every person - this animal is a faithful assistant to the peasant, so her figure organically fits into the Russian rural landscape.
The background is almost empty, it does not distract and does not attract attention - you can see only a few houses from a nearby village. This arrangement of figures in the picture emphasizes that the most important action takes place in the foreground. The artist used mainly only three colors: white, black, brown.