The arrest of the Huguenot Jacobin de Montebel, Countess d'Etremont - Vasily Dmitrievich Polenov. Oil on Canvas 135 x 88 cm
While still studying at the Academy of Arts, Vasily Polenov decided that his main focus in art would be historical painting. It is not surprising that the painter worked a lot in his favorite genre and achieved significant success, creating a number of paintings with a clear imprint of individual style and personal style, although not without a noticeable influence of French salon painting. One of the most striking works on historical subjects is the “Arrest of the Huguenot Jacobin de Montebel, Countess d'Etremont”, written in 1875.
This painting was commissioned, and none other than Tsarevich Alexander ordered it to the master. The plot of the picture is entirely devoted to the second wife of the leader of the Huguenots Countess d'Etremont.
The whole horror of religious confrontation can be felt by looking at this picture. The heroine’s face, pulled out by a ray of artificial light, is calm and proud, and her eyelids are lowered, but the inner grief of her unfortunate fate is read in her eyes, because she knows the fate of Protestant Huguenots like no one else — they were mercilessly exterminated, tortured and burned at the stake.
The figures of the guards are proud and stately - everything in their appearance demonstrates pride in what is happening, they caught another enemy of faith and power. Each is unshakable in his actions and worldview.
The color of the picture seems to recreate documentary shots - night, dark streets, the wife of a Protestant leader is taken out of a black niche. Gray and brown colors perfectly convey the mood of the picture, all the hopelessness and drama of the moment.
The cold light coming from torches invisible to the viewer only aggravates the general character, making it possible to better see the unhappy face of the heroine, and when playing on the armor of the guards, he demonstrates the irresistible power of power against which the Huguenot can not stand.
The picture Polenov really liked and the public, and the customer. She traveled a lot to various exhibitions, and her creator was awarded the title of academician.