The painting "Barge Haulers on the Volga". Burlak is ...
Who are barge haulers? These are hired workers whose labor was relevant from the 16th century right up to the invention of steam engines. Volga has long been the main transport artery of the country. On it floated huge bark, which pulled with the help of string haulers. These people did deadly hard work. At least, this impression creates a well-known picture of Repin.
A superficial idea of who the barge haulers is, the modern man has, thanks to the essay by Fyodor Reshetnikov “Podlipovtsy”, the aforementioned canvas by Ilya Repin and other works of painting and literature. Such workers in the north of Russia were called Yarygs.
Who is burlak? This is a hard worker doing seasonal work. After the ice drift, men from villages located on the banks of large rivers united into artels. Who is burlak? This is a desperate man who has lost the economy and interest in life. Lovers of free air and travel went to barge haulers.
Of course, there was the head of the barge haulers. It was the most experienced and authoritative worker who monitored the condition of the vessel, took responsibility for the safety of the cargo. He was called a diverter. The pilot was next in the hierarchy of the haulers. Who is he and what did he do? The pilot inspected that the boat did not run aground, escorted the cargo through dangerous places without incident. He was otherwise called "uncle" or "heel plate."
A lot of other interesting words were present in Burlatzian terminology. For example, "bump". This is another important position in the collective of barge haulers. Who is it? The name of an advanced worker who was responsible for the well-coordinated work of his colleagues was called a "lump". Probably, a word meaning a big boss came from modern slang in Burlatz.
The workers had a division into indigenous and additional. The first were hired for the whole season. The second was taken in some cases when additional assistance was required.
"Eh, dubinushka, let's go"
Barge haulers - who is this? A group of hard workers, pulling with the help of a rope vessel. This work was extremely hard and monotonous. Only fair wind slightly facilitated the work of barge haulers.Among the representatives of this profession, a tradition appeared in the most difficult moment to start a song. Probably, this made the work of buryatka less monotonous. The most famous song is “Eh, dubinushka, uhnem”.
Russian composer Rachmaninov based on folk motifs wrote “Burlatskaya”. The work wonderfully reflects the plight of employees. The bitter fate of the men who pulled the strap (this expression in the 19th and 20th centuries was used in relation to barge haulers) inspired modern authors. For example, Boris Grebenshchikov. In the early nineties, the “Russian Album” was released, in which one of the songs is called “Burlak”.
The haulers passed many kilometers. From time to time they made stops: they rested, darned thin shirts. After them there was a smoldering fire, broken bast shoes, and sometimes a roughly hewn grave cross. Not every physically strong man could withstand hard work. Although among the representatives of this profession met and women.
Documents were taken from the haulers. He became a forced force. Until the very end of the route, the worker was in complete obedience to the master of the vessel.I got up from dawn, I had to move for a whole day without the slightest delay. Often burlaks met robbers, from which they had to fight hard.
"Barge Haulers on the Volga"
In 1869, Repin worked on the picture "Job and his friends." Sketches for her he created on the banks of the Neva River. There he saw the first time barge haulers. These people made an indelible impression on the artist, primarily by their contrast with the picturesque nature and cheerful summer residents. Then Repin made the first watercolor sketch. In 1870, the artist created a pencil drawing, which today is in one of the main museums of the country - the Tretyakov Gallery.
On the basis of this sketch, in 1873 he painted the oil painting Barge Haulers on the Volga. He worked as an artist in Samara. He not only made sketches, but also spoke with the locals, asking about their lives. True, Repin later admitted that their life was of little interest to him. He asked in order to give seriousness to his work. One of the barge haulers really hit Repin. He was a shorn priest with sad eyes and a marvelously tied rag on his head - one of the characters in the painting, which today is in the Russian Museum.
The truth about the boatmen
There is a version that Repin somewhat thickened paint.Burlatskaya’s fate was not so bleak as he portrayed it in one of his most famous paintings.
Images on the canvas of Repin are lively, emotional. When you look at a picture, a unique impression about burlachestvo is created. But in fact, the life of these hard workers was not so hard.
There was a drum on the barge. A cable was attached to it with anchors attached to it. The movement began when people boarded the boat, took the string with them and started to go upstream. Barge haulers were on a barge. What the famous Russian artist described was not always the case. Only if one of the workers, namely the pilot, ran aground barge.
The picture of Repin depicts exhausted, exhausted people. They are dressed in old, torn clothes. It seems that the barge haulers were doing virtually nothing. In fact, the representatives of this profession were far from being poor. During the summer season, they earned well.
Each day, the barge received bread, butter, meat, salt, sugar, tea, cereals, and tobacco. After lunch, always rested. And most importantly, he worked voluntarily.After working for several months, he had the opportunity to do nothing in the winter.