Returning from the City (1870) by Alexei Korzukhin

Returning from the City - Alexei Korzukhin - 1870

Artwork Information

TitleReturning from the City
ArtistAlexei Korzukhin
Art MovementRealism

About Returning from the City

The artwork “Returning from the City” by Alexei Korzukhin, created in 1870, is an exemplar of the Realism art movement. It encapsulates the genre painting style which aims to depict everyday life scenes with truthfulness and lacks the idealized treatment found in other genres.

This artwork portrays a warm and intimate domestic scene within what appears to be a humble dwelling. On the right, a bearded man, perhaps a father figure, crouches down to engage with two young girls. He presents a string of onions to one of the girls, inciting a moment of curiosity and learning. Behind them, a woman—possibly the mother—folds or sorts through clothing, seemingly absorbed in her task, contributing to the narrative of daily life and household chores.

The interior setting is characterized by sparse and rustic elements, hinting at a life of simplicity or modest means. A wooden table, some cookware, and a samovar are depicted, alongside personal items like a hat and a coat that suggest a recent arrival or preparation for departure. In the foreground, a baby sits on the floor, playing with a humble cloth toy, enhancing the scene’s familial atmosphere. The use of lighting in the artwork draws the viewer’s attention to the central figures, with highlights illuminating their expressions and interactions. The artist’s application of light and shadow serves to create a sense of depth and focus within the composition.

Through the inclusion of various age groups—from the infant to the elderly woman leaning over a barrel—Korzukhin presents a snapshot of familial coexistence and the cycle of life. The painting resonates with themes of homecoming, family ties, and the simple joys found in routine interactions, achieving a resonant depiction of 19th-century domestic realism.

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