Dreams (On the Hill). From the Life of Christ series
Vasily Polenov began work on the From the Life of Christ series in 1899, following his second trip to the Middle East, and completed the last work in 1908. The artist brought many painted studies back from his travels and exhibited fifty eight of them in St Petersburg in 1909 and sixty four in Moscow and other towns. He often turned to Joseph-Ernst Renan’s Vie de Jésus for inspiration and Renan’s image of the Saviour largely coincides with his own. Although Polenov conveys the environment surrounding Christ — clothes, temples, houses and roads — with historical accuracy, he makes no attempt to observe the canons of Christian iconography. The artist does, however, impart great significance to the surrounding landscape. It radiates tranquility and grandeur, lending a special meaning to the “eventless” subject.