The painting was created by Perov in 1870. The artwork “Wanderer” is the first touch on this topic. The painting was of great personal importance to his master. Perov painted an image from a man whom he wanted to help, and when he refused and preferred a miserable life, he was very offended by him.
In creating the image of a wanderer, Perov was based on a Christian theme. His hero is not ashamed of the miserable existence and retains a sense of dignity. The old man is quite well-groomed, although he wears well-worn clothes. The person depicted in the picture is practical. He has everything he needs for traveling with him - a knapsack, a tin mug, an umbrella. The wanderer pierces with his gaze filled with wisdom and life experience. The hero looks at us from the canvas rather sternly.
When creating the work, Perov relied on his idea of pilgrimage, and at the same time created high morality in it. It seems as if the hero is calling us to turn to our conscience.
The author placed the figure of an old man in a gloomy space with no light sources. But, despite this, light is still present in the work. It seems that the light comes from the wanderer himself. Perov added glare of light to a gray beard and dark hair, a wrinkled forehead, sunken cheeks, illuminating the entire camp of the hero with some kind of internal glow. However, there is not even a hint of reflections in the background of the picture. The space around the old man does not accept the light coming from him, creating a contrast in the play of darkness and light on the canvas.
Perov focused on the relief of the plane. He lifted the collar, made the folds of clothes sharp, and the volume differences sharp. Thanks to these techniques, the gaze constantly stops at individual parts and does not slide smoothly on the canvas.
Perov shows us wandering not as vagrancy, but as a person’s way of life.