Midday offers an excellent example of Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin’s unique painterly system. The master often addressed common human themes and this picture is perceived as a philosophical and slightly melancholic reflection on the eternal problems of existence. The work was actually inspired by the death of the artist’s father. As in his other canvases, the artist employs the motif of the environs of his native town of Khvalynsk in Saratov Province, reproducing the hilly landscapes criss-crossed by rivers, ravines and roads. The great cycle of human life – birth, childhood, youth, labour, relaxation, love, maternity, old age and death – is depicted against a natural background of the eternally young and bountiful earth. The tritone principle and the device of spherical perspective, shifting the composition along the diagonal axis, transform this small corner of Russia into a metaphor for the endless space of our green and blue planet.

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