Martha the Mayoress (Theodosious Boretsky the Hermit Awarding the Sword of Ratmir to Miroslav, Young Chieftain of the Novgorodians and Fiancé of Xenia, Daughter of Mayoress Marfa of Novgorod)
The painting was produced according to the programme given on 14 March 1808 to the group of scholarship students and students of the 4th age of the Academy of Arts (the programme of education was divided into periods or ages, each lasted for 3 years starting from the age of 5-6 years old). Martha, a dignified woman, leader of the Novgorod’s struggle for independence with Ivan III, a character of one of uncompleted poem by Ryleev is depicted in the centre of the composition. By the order of Martha Theodosious Boretsky the Hermit, her grandfather, is awarding the Sword for the struggle for independence of Novgorod to Miroslav chosen the Fiancé of Xenia. Ratmir, the ancestor of Theodosious, wrote in gold on the sword “it will never come to the enemy”. Here we can see the purely balanced classicism’s composition arranged by diagonal placement of characters on the canvas, clear outlines and linear rhythm, comparison of local colours, contrasts of chiaroscuro and vigorous modelling of figures. The Academy of Arts awarded Ivanov with the certificate of merit for this painting.