Painting Oral counting by Nikolai Bogdanov-Belsky

Nikolay Bogdanov-Belsky. Painting Oral counting, 1895
Nikolay Bogdanov-Belsky. Painting Oral counting, 1895

Oral counting is a painting in which Nikolay Petrovich Bogdanov-Belsky captured the lesson of Sergei Alexandrovich Rachinsky. In the center of the work is a crowd of children captured by solving an arithmetic problem.

Painting Oral counting by Nikolai Bogdanov-Belsky is a famous masterpiece with an arithmetic problem

The viewer immediately understands that the children belong to the peasant class. Their clothes are simple and straightforward. Canvas shirts and pants, bast shoes look worn and worn, on some wardrobe items you can see dirty spots and gaps.

Some of the guys are huddled at the blackboard with an example written on it. Two students stand facing the viewer, their whole appearance expresses the hard work of thought, involvement and deep interest in the subject. The teacher, a gray-haired man with a kind and intelligent face, is next to the children, listening attentively to what one of the students whispers in his ear.

Despite the costume, which stands out for its severity, the teacher does not look like a foreign element of the composition. It can be seen that the atmosphere of creativity reigns in the lesson. The teacher is not a strict mentor, but a sensitive, attentive mentor, ready to help and support. Warm deep shades, an unpretentious setting of a country house, a stove in the background create a feeling of simplicity and complete trust in the teacher’s relationship with his students.

Title of the painting: “Verbal Account”.
Author: Nikolai Petrovich Bogdanov-Belsky (1868-1945).
Year of writing: 1895
Size: 107.4 x 79 cm.
Style: Realism.
Genre: Household.
Technique: Oil.
Material: Canvas.
Location: State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.

Nikolay Petrovich Bogdanov-Belsky – Russian painter

He worked at the turn of the XIX-XX centuries in portrait and everyday life. By chance, a simple peasant boy got into the public school of Sergei Alexandrovich Rachinsky, who noticed in him a talent for drawing. Subsequently, the master often depicted scenes from school life in his paintings, and captured his beloved mentor, who played a key role in his fate.

In the work “Oral Counting” the author strove for maximum reliability. The heroes are not abstract characters, but real students of the famous teacher, who, thanks to the folk school, became teachers, doctors, engineers. The example written on the chalkboard is also not a simple set of numbers.

Here is one of Rachinsky’s sequences, with the help of which the teacher taught peasants to quickly count without writing utensils. That is why the picture is of interest not only for art lovers. But also for mathematics lovers who also try to calculate the correct answer in their minds.

Nikolai Bogdanov-Belsky’s Oral Counting is a masterfully rendered everyday scene from school life, which fully reveals the peasant children’s craving for knowledge, their love and respect for the teacher, as well as Sergei Rachinsky’s pedagogical and mathematical talents.