Alexander Ivanov - Joseph Interprets the Prisoners’ Dreams
Alexander Ivanov completed his student years with a program work on a Biblical theme: Joseph Interprets the Prisoners’ Dreams (1827). Ivanov was awarded a first-class gold medal. However, the ideas which were clearly expressed in the picture—of man’s defenselessness in the face of tyranny, and the flouting of the concepts of justice and lawfulness—caused dissatisfaction among the Academy’s ruling circles. The depiction on the dungeon wall of an Egyptian execution was seen as a direct allusion to the execution of five leaders of the Decembrist uprising. True, the Academy officials could find no real proof of such an analogy and tried to hush up the whole episode, but still Ivanov had to produce a new diploma work in order to obtain the right to go to Italy.