Losenko is a Russian painter who laid the foundation for Russian historical painting. Before him, it, as such, did not exist - there were religious and mythological subjects, but mostly Western, which had nothing to do with Russia. Only after Losenko did the history of his native country stand out in something that can be reflected in the paintings, thereby perpetuating.
“Vladimir and Rogneda” is an exclusively plot picture. It depicts one of the climaxes of the legend of Prince Vladimir and his first wife. Having fallen in love with her for her beauty - Rogneda was the daughter of the prince and sister of the princes, cheerful and cheerful - Vladimir embraced her and was refused. Then he invaded the lands of her father with the army, burned the city, killed the Rogneda brothers and her parent, and she “took him by wife” by force - this is the moment reflected in the picture.
In the center are two figures that attract the eye. Rogneda is sitting in an armchair, her eyes are blind and white, with one hand she is still trying to push Vladimir away, the other is holding onto a random cloth.
Vladimir is above her, in rich clothes, in a crown, but his face does not correspond to the image of a rapist and a pagan prevailing in a legend - he looks at Rogneda with a kind of horror and compassion, holds her repulsive hand, presses his other hand to his chest, to heart, as if wanting to get it and show what a longing lies in it. Perhaps this is excessive romanticization. Perhaps the artist completely changes the meaning of the legend, but at the same time there is a peculiar beauty in this gesture.
To the left, behind Rogneda’s chair, an old nurse, with a humble and mournful face, cries. Vladimir is pushed behind Vladimir, looking at the stage indifferently and seriously - it seems they are impatient to start sharing the booty.
Thanks to the change in Vladimir’s face, the whole scene seems ambivalent. Yes, they are going to make a woman a wife by force, but the prince has a hunch of repentance, to which he will come once.
Painting Levitan Dandelions