Vasily Perov in Russian Museum
Vasily Perov (1833-1882) was the most prominent representative of the social genre painting, which reached its maturity in the 1860s. His works strikingly mirror the democratic ideals of the time. While sharply censuring the negative aspects of Russian reality, he shows a deep sympathy for the common folk and their grievous lot. He is especially ruthless in his indictment of the clergy. Thus in A Monastic Repast, the subjects depicted are the incarnation of avarice and vicious hypocrisy. We see a corpulent self-contended prior, a young monk hurrying a servant to open another bottle of wine, a wealthy lady, a high-ranking official invited by the fawning clerics to partake of their “humble repast” and a beggar woman with her children futilely pleading for a few crumbs. In his later works Perov paid less attention to social comment and concentrated on such themes as the one depicted in Hunters Resting.