In the landscape of Alexander Ivanov, the main element is the road. She walks through the desert, orange from the rays of the setting sun. The Appian Way leads to Rome.
Along the edges of it, you can see ancient tombs, crowned with commemorative stones. The city is still far away, it stretches somewhere out there, in the background. He is so far from the viewer that a gray haze hides him. Nevertheless, buildings are guessed in it, the nearest of which is an ancient aqueduct.
There is nothing in the desert that would prevent you from looking at this city panorama. That is why the impression is created that the viewer is in a hurry to get to Rome along this road in order to see all these buildings there, and, perhaps, he will no longer need to hide from the sun – it is already setting, but finding a place for the night is necessary.
Some of the artist’s contemporaries wrote that this creation would be perceived as the decline of Catholicism. However, the picture does not leave such a feeling. On the contrary, in buildings visible from afar, somewhere on the verge of subconsciousness, you feel the greatness of the ancient ancient city. And even if these are already the ruins of that pagan Rome, but above them rises the dome of Peter, which is clearly visible through the haze. And most likely, it should symbolize the victory of Christianity over paganism.
The mountains are visible in the background. This is just a symbol of eternity and invincibility, the inviolability of nature. And even though there are no heroes in the picture itself, the viewer himself feels himself to be the hero, before whom “the distance is visible.” This is the very road that can only be mastered by walking, and not thinking about how to overcome it.
Therefore, the canvas is perceived as positive. It is filled with sunshine and soft, typical sunset shadows. And let the path pass between the graves, somehow you don’t think about it when you go on your mental journey to Rome.
Year of painting: end of 1845.
The size of the painting: 44 x 61 cm.
Writing technique: oil.
Gallery: State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia.