1903 - the year of writing “Silence”. The year when Nesterov, for a long time looking for inspiration and images for a new picture, which was to be called "Holy Russia", finally found what he was looking for. His find was a small monastery in the Siberian wilderness - the Solovetsky Monastery.
Life in it was simple and often difficult - to devote all day to services would not even work out for a big celebration. “We pray to God in the forest, with an ax and a saw,” said the monks, and laughed. The whole world around them was a temple for them in the absence of the opportunity to close themselves from the world in the present temple.
Dawn, silence over the river, animals and birds - everything led them to thoughts about God, about how simple and reasonable he arranged everything, about how good he was. Prayed in the morning and evening, at work and after work. The way of their life so impressed the artist, accustomed to the bustle of cities and a completely different approach, that the picture was born quickly.
On it is a white night, therefore the sun is not visible. It is hiding behind the horizon, ready to emerge from there very soon, and its light, close and diffused, floods the slope of the mountain covered with forests. Illuminates the monastery, two monks in boats. Their image is repeated, as if by a reprise - like an echo in the forest they are similar to each other. The same pose, black robes. Fishing rods in the hands. Despite the fact that the old man is on the left and the young man is on the right, they are similar to each other, because the observer is deprived of the opportunity to look into their faces.
This is not necessary. After all, the picture is not about people, but about nature, about the temple of God, which the whole world becomes, and into which a person can enter if he reverently remains silent and does not destroy what he has inherited from God. Close-ups, the ease of lines, the apparent lack of detail, all serve to create the impression of a peaceful silence in which the answers to all questions are hidden.
Silence is the key to them. Be silent - and you will hear.
Above Chagall City