A.S. Stepanov is a great Russian landscape painter and portrait painter, he worked in different directions, often contrary to the socio-political views of that time. His life was hard in an orphanage, which, of course, was delayed by his work. His painting “In the Village” was painted at the beginning of the twentieth century in turbulent times for Russia. It was precisely during this period that revolutionary ideas were actively spreading, in all the works of creative people the political subtext was diligently sought out.
The canvas depicts a village in winter. In haste, the assembled fence, the rickety wooden barn, the doors of which barely hold. In the background are visible village houses, and possibly farm buildings. A poor rural courtyard is depicted, and the main character of the picture is a horse. The rich black color of the horse gives the animal nobility. He is the master of space, the cold devastated the courtyard, the horse feels like a master. In his confident article, pride and independence can be considered.
The artist realistically depicted the economy of the village house and the situation in winter. In winter, there is little work in the village, and frosts in Russia do not allow much time to be spent on the street. Peasants spend most of the day at home near the fire. Walking is very important for a horse, if the animal does not walk in the wild, then it can even die. Therefore, each owner lets horses out for a few hours a day. It is also visible in the plot of the picture that the horse was released, and the owners themselves returned to the warm hearth.
It is impossible not to feel loneliness and longing in the image of the animal. His eyes are not visible, but it seems that the look is very sad. Perhaps it is oppressed by cold and it is clear that hoarfrost silvered his mane. Although, most likely, he is simply lonely, there is no one to understand and support him. The artist conveyed his personal feelings in this way. Stepanov remained in his soul a lonely boy who, after the death of his parents, was left completely alone. He, like this horse, stands among the master's yard and is immersed in his thoughts.
The picture, although painted in bright colors, is saturated with sadness. White snow and seemingly good weather should cheer up, but loneliness still blows from the canvas. I would like to stroke the horse, tell him that he is not alone and is still needed. It’s just winter now, nature is sleeping and opportunities are limited. Spring will come, the expanse of meadows will beckon into the distance, then the horse will gallop at full speed and feel the absolute freedom so necessary for him.