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Vasily Surikov was born in 1848 in Krasnoyarsk in a family of hereditary Don Cossacks, who came with Ermak back in the 16th century during the conquest of Siberia. He showed a talent for painting quite early, but due to the early death of his father, the family did not have funds for a decent education. Only a case helped Surikov when the Yenisei governor Zamyatin saw his drawings, found a philanthropist I.P. Kuznetsov, who paid for his studies at the academy, and at the age of 21, Vasily Surikov became a student in St. Petersburg.
His monumental canvases, thanks to which Surikov gained fame and fame, are made with a deep compositional, color and plastic approach. Most of the paintings - Morning of the Archery Execution, Suvorov's Crossing the Alps, Conquest of Siberia by Ermak - are filled with a large number of different characters, each of which is worked out with its own character, a moment of emotions, with a careful selection of color schemes. And although many of his contemporaries often criticized Surikov for such a mishmash of faces and bodies, compared his paintings with brocade carpet, this became a distinctive feature of the paintings, his special energy and valuable historical and artistic heritage of Russian culture.
The painting by Pir Balthasar is also executed in the artist’s favorite manner - the culmination of a significant event in history. Belshazzar, having inherited the rule of Babylon after the death of his father, arranges a grand feast, at which a huge number of guests, servants, concubines, priests and slaves drown in wine and vice. When the invitees did not grab the dishes, Belshazzar ordered to bring the golden ritual goblets, which had been stolen even during the destruction of the Jerusalem temple.
But only the new ruler of the world touched the goblet, the sky trembled from formidable peals of thunder, lightning illuminated the rampaging crowd, and a luminous encrypted inscription appeared on the wall. Foreseeing trouble, Belshazzar is looking for someone who could read the fateful message, and the prophet Daniel is brought to him. The picture captures the moment when Daniel translates the mysterious inscription to the king, which predicts the imminent death of the desecrator of the shrines, indicating burning signs, and numerous ... guests and servants writhe in horror and panic around Belshazzar, who was mad with fear.
Rich bright expensive clothes decorated with jewelry, gold plate, lamps, furniture - how miserable they look under the fire of divine anger. Red cloaks, red carpets, spilled red wine in the foreground of the picture - all this is seen as a harbinger of imminent bloodshed, because the celebrating king was not up to the guard of the city, where the Persian troops crept up to the walls. Babylonian priests still extend their arms and pleas for protection to pagan idols, but the outcome of the grandiose and tragic feast is perfectly clear - defilers cannot escape heavenly punishment.