We see a landlord, dozing peacefully in his arm-chair, his saucy young wife in her Sunday best beside him. They are in sharp contrast to the worn-out, exhausted peasants in their patched and tattered coats. One of the peasants is scratching his head, expressing his disbelief of the priest’s words. The subject of the sermon is “There is no power but that bestowed by God”, and it can be inferred from the priest’s gestures: he is pointing significantly towards the sky with one finger, and towards the landlord with another.
In the next canvas “A Religious Procession in a Village at Easter” Perov depicted a cheerless spectacle of a religious feast in a feudal village. The priest, bloated with liquor, is seen staggering off the porch; the sexton, too drunk to stand, lies sprawling on the steps, and the groggy peasants are reeling past, down the muddy road.
The tsar’s government withdrew the picture from the exhibition for its bold and caustic exposure of the clergy, and prohibited its further reproduction.
to doze — дремать
saucy — разг. щегольской
patched and tattered coats — в заплатах, изорванные пальто
bestowed — данная (дарованная)
to infer — выводить заключение
priest — священник
gesture — жест
feast — праздник, банкет, пир
bloated with liquor — обрюзгший от спиртного
to stagger — шататься, идти шатаясь
sexton — дьячок, пономарь
to sprawl — растянуться
groggy — нетвёрдый на ногах
to reel — пошатываться
to withdraw (withdrew; withdrawn) — изъять, удалить
bold and caustic — смелый и едкий (резкий)
to prohibit — запрещать