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This painting is the final touch to the Saratov cycle of the artist, written in Zubrilovka between 1902 and 1903. Prior to this, Boris-Musatov managed to write other canvases in the estate (“Pond”, “Lady at the Tapestry”), which were motifically correlated with “Signs”, inferior to them in the power of the created mood. As the artist’s wife recalls, autumn nature itself, with its dreary days, contributed to the creation of canvases filled with poetic sadness. The once-blossoming estate, which Derzhavin and Krylova used to take in the past, was now in the same mood, but now it was desolate. It was Zubrilovka, or rather, its southern side, was captured in "Ghosts."
The canvas depicts the receding translucent figures of women. On the face of one of them is depicted a sad silence, an understanding of the impossibility of expressing the inner drama in words. In general, in the understanding of the philosophers and writers of the Silver Age, a woman personified the "Soul of the World", a certain transcendental essence.
In this painting, women are not devoid of features of mystery, but the main meaning invested in their images is different: farewell to the old noble way that has sunk into oblivion, and the expectation of a new, “iron” age. The heroes of the “Cherry Orchard” by A. Chekhov experienced something similar ... Because of the themes of his works, the artist was known as the “singer of the noble nests”, and his paintings were called the lyrical diary of the dying former Russia.
The artistic manner of Borisov-Musatov turns out to be close to the style of the eighteenth-century painters (Rokotov, for example), and the Symbolists depicting the world as a kind of haze, a light curtain over the mysterious Something. In “Ghosts” this effect is achieved by using a special range of colors, due to which not only the features, but also the estate itself are blurred and merged. All this creates the impression of mirage, fluctuation of the canvas. It seems that under the image lies yet another reality, however, it itself is no stronger than gas fabric.