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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Levitan is not only a landscape painter

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Isaac Levitan – the “golden” Jew of Russian painting!

Often the names of the artists are associated with a specific genre, which is attributed to them as a creative role.

Thus, most people believe that Levitan painted only landscape lyrics.

It turns out that this is not true at all. See why:

Isaac Ilyich Levitan (1861-1900) has left a legacy for generations not only of his famous landscapes, but also of astonishing still lifes that impress with refinement and strong impact.

These are about 30 paintings created in the period of the so-called nomads.

Still life, as a genre, was quite neglected in Russia in the second half of the 19th century.

In Levitan’s still lifes, we see modest bouquets of field flowers, but they are drawn with such tenderness by the artist that they inspire coziness and warmth, which affect the viewers in a highly emotional way.

Levitan apparently enjoyed painting still lifes and taught his students through them to see colors in all their subtle nuances as they exist in nature.

“They should smell like flowers, not paint!” Levitan told his students.

Wild flowers, bunches of lilacs, dandelions, ferns and azaleas, and many more flower species, really “smell” with the colors of nature in the canvases of the artist.

Levitan’s first still life is his canvas “Dandelions” from 1889. Levitan was literally fascinated by nature, which created such a fragile miracle.

At that time, he lived in a quiet town on the banks of the Volga River, together with his student Sofia Kuvshnikova. The two of them picked flowers during their walks and then painted, literally in one breath – in a few hours, floral still lifes.

In his canvas “Nenufara” Levitan literally “captures” water lilies floating on the surface of the water, whose thin “legs” sink into the dark transparent depths.

This is truly an amazing work of the master in its impact.

“When Levitan dies, nature seems to return to him this gesture of love that he witnessed in his still lifes, says an art critic, and specifies: Nature said goodbye to him, as the lilac in his garden blossomed again and he saw this miracle from his window . He smiled and said: “I suffered a lot and learned a lot, thanks to nature.”

Illustration: “Forest violets and forget-me-nots”, 1889, art. Isaac Levitan, Tretyakov Gallery

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