In the late 19th century, a famous group of Russian painters, later known as “The Wanderers”, rebelled against their masters who were embedded in the European views of art, that it was designed to be viewed by the upper class and painted scenes that they wanted to see. In their protest they began painting scenes from the Russian homeland, scenes that would appeal or be familiar to the masses, including the lower class citizens. Instead of displaying their work in a museum, the Peredvizhniki(Wanderers) showcased their art across Russia in traveling exhibitions. Artist Alexei Savrasov was one of these Peredvizhniki and his painting of the Sukharev tower was one of the works shown in his traveling showcase.
Sukharev Tower was a large tower and symbol of Moscow built by Tsar Peter the Great in 1692 following the defeat of his Sister Sofia, using the tower as a way to signify his triumph over her. In Savrasov’s painting of the tower we see that it is in the background, but is still the focus of this piece, being significantly bigger than anything else pictured. Additionally, Savrasov has painted a large number of crows flocking to, and circling the tower, thus identifying the suffering that was the reason for this tower’s construction. I feel that the addition of the crows was to make a point of the Streltsy that were murdered when Peter triumphed over Sofia, and their families sent to exile into Siberia.