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To argue “in peace” in the village meant - in the presence of all the villagers. In small settlements it was not so difficult to gather the whole people, but it gave everyone the opportunity to speak out or intervene, and also prevented the appearance of false rumors about who was to blame and who was right. Everyone could give their arguments and, if the arguments were good, emerge victorious from the dispute.
But that was only theory. The picture depicts a peasant gathering, which was convened for the sake of a dispute between a classic, almost fabulously archetypal couple - the poor and the rich. The poor man looks unsightly and causes some kind of cunning pity - his hair is disheveled, his face is crooked from crying, red from tears, his clothes look old and torn - desperate to prove his truth with reasonable words, he can no longer resist shouting meaningless accusations.
The rich man seems to be his exact opposite. He is well dressed, neatly trimmed. His face expresses some confusion, as if he was perplexed - he was perplexed publicly, so that everyone understood what this loud shrill man wants from him. But his confusion looks condescending and somewhat pretended. He is trying very hard to portray her, but he is both disgusted and bored of making excuses. It would be easier to pay.
Around the crowd of people. The poor are held in order not to rush, a couple of people look at him in surprise, incredulous, someone openly laughs behind him. The rest are indifferent - they stand, because it seems to be an amusing action. Why not stand here if it’s snowing in other places too and there’s nowhere to go?
In the foreground, an old man sits on a log. In an infinitely tired pose, hanging his head impotently - he expresses the meaninglessness of the struggle. The fact that when the picture was only conceived was a local dispute, in the final version is a reflection of the eternal conflict of poverty and wealth.
Composing By Picture Everything In The Past