4 Answers

  1. There are rather two questions here, so in order.

    Haulers. The work of a hauler in the 19th century was very attractive for marginal strata – landless peasants and vagabonds. But to say that they earned a lot is unlikely.

    Barge haulers ' earnings varied by period, year, region, and depending on supply and demand. The average salary was 50 kopecks a day or 15 rubles a month, and a boatman could earn about 60 rubles per season (2 times a year). Of course, the income also depended on the” position ” of the hauler-the foreman (bumps) had more (but a lot depended on him – both the contract itself and the price for it and the conditions), the boys earned 3-4 rubles a month.

    What is 60 rubles in the 19th century? The conversion rate of that money to today's money (in terms of purchasing power, in terms of the equivalent value of silver) is slightly more than 1000 royal rubles to the ruble of 2020, but not more than 2000. Total – 120 thousand RUB the current money per season (2 times a year) – not very much, but a contribution to family, or to drink and take a walk (a marginal and did a shot of vodka, such as cost 5 cents, cucumber snack 1 penny, good food – 10 cents) – enough. Plus, in addition to money, the payment included food, usually quite good.

    For comparison, the salary of a minor employee at the beginning of the XX century was 20 rubles a month, a zemstvo doctor – 80, a paramedic-35-55, a gymnasium teacher-80-100, state Duma deputies had a salary of 350 rubles a month, generals and top officials-750-1500 rubles a month.

    Against this background, the income of a hauler for an unskilled employee was quite adequate. Although movers and workers earned more than that.

    Painting by Repin.

    It's still a work of art. Moreover, it was outrageous (with a challenge), built on allegories, contrasts, grotesque. That is, the artist did not set out to create a realistic accurate picture – it was necessary to depict vivid images that emphasize the image of the lower strata of Russian society at that time. It succeeded.

    (shishka (brigadier), who, by the way, had a real prototype and a right bonded one)

    What did the haulers really look like? Let's turn to historical photos.

    (yes, there were also women's boatmen's artels)

    Not as bright as in an art painting. But also not dandies, of course-the usual practical work clothes.

    The photo of the women's artel is even a little confusing-almost “at the parade” )). But then it was still far from feminism and the idea of putting harem pants on a woman.

    About Repin's painting.

    The painting was completed in 1873, and in the same year exhibited at the World's Fair in Vienna, and was bought for 3000 rubles by Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich.

    3,000 rubles is about 4-5 million rubles worth of current money. This is by the way about the income of artists, if you are lucky (I note that Repin painted this picture for about three years – from 1870 to 1873).

    Although for the end of the XIX century and at the European exhibition, such a picture in itself shamed Russia – in Europe, the age of steam traction, railways and iron steamers was already in full swing. The picture (and its presence at the European international (!) exhibition) angered the Minister of Railways Bobrinsky – after all, shipping companies and railways were already actively developing in Russia, and haulers already in 1873, although they were, were already becoming a relic and anachronism-why show it to Europe? But the patronage of Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich (nb: amazing!) protected Repin from the attacks of the minister.

    In fairness, it should be noted that the work of boatmen took place at the end of the XIX century, and even in the XX century, already in Soviet Russia – in particular, when Kolchak, retreating to Siberia, burned all the steamships on the Volga and, especially, against the background of famine, the work of boatmen (including women) immediately became very popular. In the best, pre-steamboat times, the number of boatmen in Russia was estimated at 600 thousand people.

    Symbolism of Repin's painting. Or later myths about the” secret symbols ” of the painting?

    And features of the work of boatmen.

    Now you can find a lot of discussions about the secret symbols laid down by the artist in painting, inspired by the revolutionary sentiments – in the foreground is a stone with a rope (the symbol of the drowned body of a suicide of despair, an allegory of the oppressed Russia), broken fishing basket (allegory broken grids and cells of prisons, a symbol of the revolutionary movement – “heavy chains will fall,” etc.). Somewhere far, far away on the horizon – steamer – a symbol dalekogo progress (in the background exhausted the life boatmen).

    Although the boatmen were not happy with steamboats – they deprived them of quite acceptable earnings-this is how self – driving cars for taxi drivers are now-they are hardly happy with this achievement of progress, which is about to become a reality.

    And the most interesting thing is the inverted Russian flag on the mast of the barge. Now it is customary to explain this by anticipating and waiting for revolutionary changes in Russia, imperceptibly and allegorically reflected in the picture by Repin. But there is a more prosaic explanation:

    1. Boatmen on the Volga rarely “pulled the strap”, i.e. dragged the barge (embroidery), walking along the shore. For the most part, barges were harnessed – several anchors were brought forward in turn on the boat, and the ship was pulled up (harnessed) to this anchor (verpa) using a winch (capstan), or, perhaps manually as a “tug of war” – this is still easier than walking along the shore-this is Repin's shore depicted as ideally convenient, but in fact, although the construction of buildings and fences along the banks was prohibited (precisely because of burlachestvo), but the banks in reality are rocky, swampy areas that are overgrown with grass, shrubs, trees with roots, etc. (see the photo above). It was necessary to pull the barge along the shore when it ran aground (in the fall it was easy – the water was low).
    2. An inverted flag was sometimes raised to signal danger (there was such a tradition).
    3. And then everything falls into place – the barge ran aground, “turned on the emergency light” (raised the inverted flag, including to warn about the shoal), the guys went ashore – to push out the stuck colossus.
  2. No matter how much they earned, they worked in “rob”. And this is not a clean shirt and dress pants. Yes, and I doubt that their salary was enough to change the robe every day.

  3. Because people are at work. Are they supposed to be wearing tuxedos and top hats? Some turner or locksmith in the USSR also earned good money. But at the workplace, he was wearing rumpled overalls, stained with rust and solid metal.

  4. I do not have data on the salary of the Volga boatmen depicted in the picture of the same name, but I would venture to assume that this is their special clothing.

    For example, the builders ' special equipment turns into remki very quickly, and the mechanics are soaked in oil. Only the intelligentsia works in casual clothes. Representatives of working professions, as a rule, change into work clothes.

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