Wednesday, 28 March 2012

'March' by Isaac Levitan (Spring Landscape #4)

March by Isaac Levitan
March (1895) by Isaac Levitan
oil, 60 x 75cm
The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia

We tend to think of Spring as being new shoots, fresh green buds - maybe a bit of blustery weather.  But for a lot of people Spring is "the thaw" and underfoot can get a bit messy.....

Isn't the painting of the light absolutely remarkable in this painting?  Every time I see a painting by Levitan I find myself staring at the colour and the light and the atmosphere.

Isaac Levitan - founder of the 'mood landscape'


This is a painting by Isaac Ilyich Levitan (1860-1900) who is always described as a famous Russian landscape painter painting in the nineteenth century - round about the same time as the French Impressionists.  he's regarded as the founder of the “mood landscape” genre.

The reality is that he was was born on August 30, 1860 in the shtetl (Jewish town) of Wirballen in the Province of Kowno in Lithuania - which at the time was occupied by Russia. It's now known as Kybartai and is situated extremely close to the border with Russia.  Which means strictly speaking he's a very famous Lithuanian landscape painter!

This is a biographical essay about Levitan.  He was part of the Peredvizhniki (Society for Traveling Art Exhibitions).

This is an article about the exhibition Russian Landscape in the Age of Tolstoy at the The National Gallery, London (23 June-12 September 2004).  It sets the context for landscape painting
As the National Gallery's curator of 19th-century paintings, Christopher Riopelle has pointed out, 'Landscape plays a central role in the Russian imagination. The emptiness of the country's vast reaches, the rigours of its climate, the difficulties of transportation, and the intense isolation that long winter months impose, all contribute to a specifically Russian sense of nature, different from - perhaps more fatalistic than - that of elsewhere. In the age of Tolstoy the landscape simply dominated the lives of most Russians.'

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