Painting Between classes by Nikolai Petrovich Bogdanov-Belsky

Nikolay Bogdanov-Belsky. Painting Between classes, 1903
Nikolay Bogdanov-Belsky. Painting Between classes, 1903

“Between Classes” is a painting by the remarkable Russian artist Nikolai Petrovich Bogdanov-Belsky from a series of works dedicated to the images of peasant children, sincere in their friendship, desire for knowledge, touching concern for each other.

In the center of the composition, there is a group of boys, carried away by an ancient entertaining game – checkers. The guys staged a tournament during a break between school hours. This is evidenced by the books lying side by side on the bench. All the heroes of the work belong to the peasant class, but they look different.

Painting Between classes by Nikolai Petrovich Bogdanov-Belsky – a plot awarded with the approval of the emperor

One of the students in shabby bast shoes and old clothes feels insecure. He made another move and patiently waits for the opponent’s answer. Another player is dressed more subtly, he smiles happily, apparently close to victory. Young checkers have two fans who are gambling at the fight. Convincingly and accurately, the master prescribed the children, revealing the individuality of each and their common interest in checker battles.

The guys are united by openness, kind, sincere emotions. This is what the artist was trying to convey. The warmth and warmth of children’s hearts is emphasized by lighting. The boys’ room is literally flooded with sunlight. An amazing combination of light tones and dark shades contributes to the transfer of internal dynamics and some “snatch” of the moment.

The painter described in detail the interior of the room: an unpainted wooden bench, an old cracked cabinet, a battered geographical map hanging on a plank wall. Carefully, with filigree meticulousness, Nikolai Petrovich wrote out the smallest details of the uncomplicated village clothes of the heroes of the work. The picture evokes positive emotions. The images of rural children are filled with amazing charm.

Title of the painting: “Between classes”.
Author: Nikolay Bogdanov-Belsky (1868-1945).
Year of writing: 1903
Size: unknown.
Style: Realism.
Genre: Household.
Technique: Oil painting.
Material: Canvas.

Location: Novosibirsk State Art Museum, Russia.

Nikolai Petrovich Bogdanov-Belsky is a brilliant Russian painter of the XIX-XX centuries, an excellent portrait and genre painter, a member of the Academy of Arts. One of the central themes of his work is the rural school and education in the countryside.

The artist, the son of a farm laborer, reflected his personal experience on canvases. In adolescence, he graduated from the parish school, studied with the famous teacher Sergei Rachinsky. Then he managed to make a brilliant career as a painter.

The work of Nikolai Bogdanov-Belsky coincided with a turning point in the history of Russia. His live scenes with the obligatory presence of children surprised and delighted the audience. The artist perfectly conveyed the bright inner world of children – serious, capacious and infinitely beautiful.

The picturesque masterpiece attracted the attention of Emperor Nicholas II and was awarded his approval. The work was purchased for the personal collection of the sovereign. The painting “Between classes” by Nikolai Petrovich Bogdanov-Belsky shows a wonderful, carefree moment in the life of rural schoolchildren, their spiritual harmony and natural talent.