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"Priam, asking Achilles for the body of Hector" - the first major work, which was written by eighteen-year-old Alexander Ivanov, while still a student at the Academy of Arts. The author captured the scene of the plot of the 24th song "Illiad" by Homer.
Without a doubt, the young artist knew the whole Homeric poem, and it was no coincidence that he chose this particular verse. Ivanov always strove for the psychological expressiveness of the images, so the moment of supplication and remorse of the Trojan king Priam was the most suitable. Ivanov created the picture in accordance with the academic rules of classicism, but chose the most emotional moment. For this, he was awarded the small gold medal of the Society for the Encouragement of Artists.
King Priam, intends to pray for the body of his dead son from Achilles. For this, he went to the enemy camp under cover of night. The Trojan king offers a generous ransom for the body of Hector, who was slain near the walls of Troy. We see Priam at a time of complete despair and hopelessness. He fell at the feet of his enemy and prays for the mercy of the body of the deceased. Ivanov chose the moment when the decision has not yet been made, although the denouement is already known. Achilles sat, deep in grief at his comrade Patroclus, and as if woke up from the touch of the hand of the old king.
With his unusual plot, Ivanov expanded the possibilities of an academic production. Expressiveness and archaeological accuracy are characteristic of the artist, so he chose a complex setting. In the same 1824, the picture was presented at the exhibition. Critics noted that the author was very attentive to the details. At the feet of Priam was a caduceus, the rod of Hermes, a symbol of his invisible presence. According to legend, the Trojan king managed to get into the Greek camp only thanks to the Greek god - the patron saint of trade. Do not lose sight of the subject near which Achilles sits. This is nothing more than a funeral urn with the ashes of Patroclus, a close friend and ally of Achilles.
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