Summer landscapes on the canvases of artists: Levitan, Shishkin and Kuindzhi

Summer time seems to flow differently. Daylight hours increase, and the taste of life becomes special: juicy, spicy, filled with variety like juicy ripe fruits. All living things begin to enjoy every moment, celebrating life with its unchanging course.

Nature in the summer, like a brilliant designer, transforms everything around with an unimaginable palette of colors and shades. And colors in all meanings of the word. What does not grow in summer in flower beds, in gardens, meadows and parks among bright greenery!

Artists feel summer in a special way – they are inspired by the variety of colors and shapes created by nature. For them, the summer season is an opportunity to work in the open air (in the open air). It is now possible to pick up a good camera and capture all the surrounding beauty with one press of the shutter button, and at a time when there were no cameras yet, the artist was the very person who stopped the moment.

Let’s see how artists conveyed the summer mood two centuries ago. We warn you that after viewing this article, you will certainly want to go out into nature!

Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi “Birch Grove”, 1879

Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi
Photo Wikipedia

The State Tretyakov Gallery contains a painting by the Russian artist of Greek origin Arkhip Kuindzhi “Birch Grove”, which was painted at the end of the 19th century. Now, two centuries later, oil paints on canvas have lost their saturation, some of them even changed their shade. But, despite this, this canvas has something that makes you stop your gaze and feel the gentle breath of summer.

Having appeared at the exhibition for the first time among the works of Itinerant artists, the painting “Birch Grove” won the attention of professionals. Many appreciated in Kuindzhi’s work the original play of light and color, light and shadow. The artist masterfully mastered the academic construction of landscapes, and here the composition is made according to the so-called “backstage construction”. There is a feeling that you are in front of a stage decoration, isn’t it?

Read also: 5 interesting facts from the life of the abstract artist Wassily Kandinsky

Ivan Ivanovich Shishkin “Landscape near the cottage”, 1894

Ivan Ivanovich Shishkin
Photo Wikipedia

You can see this work of the famous Russian realist artist in the walls of the State Museum of Fine Arts in Kazan.

If you pay attention, there are practically no dark spots on this canvas, the whole landscape is permeated with summer light. The artist used shades so close to the natural palette that it involuntarily seems that we have a retouched photograph in front of us.

The seated figure of a girl on a bench, pensively looking into the distance, complements the pacifying harmony of the picture. Openwork shadows in the foreground give lightness, airiness, which seem to lie at the feet of the viewer, creating even a certain effect of presence. Not every photographer manages to take such a successful compositional picture and convey the colors of summer with such clarity.

I. Shishkin “Oaks. Evening “(Study), 1887

Oak trees.  Evening
Photo Wikipedia

If we talk about Russian nature in the summer, then it is impossible to limit ourselves to one picture of the genius I.I.Shishkin. This artist glorified the beauty and grandeur of the Russian expanses in more than one work.

For example, in this sketch (fr. Étude, preparatory small, often unfinished, work before creating a large – ed.) The main characters are mighty oaks. Shishkin often turned to their depictions to emphasize not only the beauty of Russian nature, but also its power. The cut-and-shadow contrast is incredibly truthfully conveyed in the sketch, with great love the artist painted the complex surface of the bark and branches of age-old trees.

There is so much life in this work that there is a feeling that the crown of oak trees is about to rustle or a juicy green blade of grass is swaying!

To see every detail of the author’s handwriting, the study can be viewed in the State Tretyakov Gallery.

Isaac Ilyich Levitan “June Day” (“Summer”), 1890s

June day
Photo Wikipedia

There is no way to ignore the picturesque canvas with such a warm name. Moreover, it was written by the master of the landscape of mood “, who was born and lived in Russia – Isaac Levitan.

The well-known artist painted many “portraits of nature”, and each of them is unique both in harmonious composition and subtle realism. With the help of picturesque strokes, Levitan conveys even the sultry air, which seems to tremble slightly above the crowns of birches.

In the painting “June Day”, it seems, everything is extremely simple: we find ourselves in front of a flowering meadow, which separates the spike field from the forest beginning in the distance. And the modesty of wildflowers, and the tenderness of young ears, and the mysterious darkness of the forest, and the endlessness of the summer sunny sky – everything in this landscape is familiar to the heart.

I. Levitan “On the lake”, 1893

On the lake
Photo Wikipedia

This painting is carefully kept in the Saratov Art Museum. She is far from the most famous in Levitan’s rich collection of paintings, but nevertheless it is worthy of attention.

How subtly and sincerely the artist depicted a dying summer day. The sun has not set yet, but nature is already sinking into a calm slumber. High clouds seem to be frozen in anticipation of the evening twilight, reflected in the still lake. How much tranquility in this landscape. Even the fishing boats and nets in the foreground do not violate the compositional harmony, but emphasize the pacifying harmony of a summer evening.

With the help of a warm palette from green to brown-brown shades, together with the cold transparency of the sky, Levitan either skillfully conveyed the state of nature, or put his lyrical and romantic mood into this summer landscape.

Summer is also a state of mind, the ability to enjoy life, the moment. And in one instant you can see so many colors, shades and meanings that it is worth stopping, listening to yourself, nature, the world. Perhaps then there will be answers to all questions. Yes, summer flies by quickly, so let’s not rush!

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