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The painting of Pavel Fedotov is very peculiar. So, in the picture "Players", the author tries to depict what is happening with the gaze of the hero who lost, and his partners became terrible phantoms for him.
The players spent the whole evening in a mutual deception, competing, winning and losing. All behaved passionately and prudently, but were together. They were united by a table made of green cloth and the light of a burning candle. And all this time the hope for a change for the better smoldered. The night passed, and those who won turned out to be on one side of the light rubicon, and the one who lost - on the other. In the picture, they are separated not only by light, but also by the space of the room, and movement.
The loser is illuminated by two candles that stand on the table, so the figure seems to be some kind of double halo of dark color. The artist depicted the winners with unlit shadows.
He does not move, but they somehow wriggle. He lost, but does not panic or cry, but squeezes a glass of wine with one hand, and helplessly turns the palm up with the other. Despite the loss, it seems ridiculous: there is an un smokeed cigar in the teeth, and on the face is a kind of caricatured grimace that looks like a smile. The loser looks like a madman, he is in a trance, behaving aloof and silently, like a lonely spectator who looks at the actors from the ground floor, the player looks at his colleagues in the game, but does not see them.
The winners shy away from the bright light. They scatter in all directions. These are just faceless monstrous phantoms that are punished for winning a torment incomprehensible to us. It seems that the artist depicted all three in different ways, but they are all terrible, lifeless, unnatural.
And these three empty souls meander against the backdrop of a bare wall, where three empty frames and three reflectors of evil spirits hang - mirrors.
So masterfully Fedotov in the “Players” showed how people who spent time at the card table turned into empty shells.
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