Priam, asking Achilles for the body of Hector - Alexander Andreevich Ivanov. 119 x 124.7 cm
A. For her, the young artist was awarded a small gold medal, which was a high assessment of the student’s skills.
The picture was painted in the style of academism, which implied masterly mastery of the painting technique, but Ivanov already proved to be an outstanding artist. The work depicts the moral suffering of the heroes and surprises with a deep psychological interpretation.
The plot of the work was the episode of The Homer's Iliad, which tells of the elder Priam who secretly appeared to Achilles to ask him to return the body of his dead son Hector for burial. Hector killed in battle a friend of Achilles Patroclus. Upon learning of this, Achilles became very angry, challenged Hector to a duel and hit him. Having tied the body of the dead protector of Troy to the chariot, Achilles drove him around the city walls for several days. Having learned about this, the gods were angry with the hero and ordered him to give Hector's body to his father. Priam the gods sent to the camp of Achilles, promising safety.
The picture shows the moment when King Priam, with Hermes' help, who went unnoticed, made his way into the tent of Achilles. The noble old man knelt before the murderer of his son and begs him to give Hector's body for burial. His face is grief and despair. Achilles had just come off his sad thoughts about a dead friend. He looks with pity on Priam, because he reminded the hero of his father. And at the same time, the pain from the loss of a comrade had not yet subsided in his heart. The urn with its ashes stands to the right of Achilles on a stone elevation. This internal moral struggle is reflected in the face of Achilles, and in the end, compassion will prevail, he will give Hector's body to his unfortunate father.
To the left of Priam, a little off, are the confused associates of Achilles Alkim and AutoMedont. In the background, Priam’s chariot with gifts is visible in the doorway.
The invisible presence of the gods is indicated in the picture: in the foreground you can see the caduceus lying on the floor - the rod of Hermes, and behind the urn with ashes there is a marble bust of Zeus with its attribute of an eagle.
A. Ivanov in his work managed to show the emotional struggle on the faces of the heroes and revive the classic plot of the Iliad.