September 29, at the Arkhangelsk Museum of Fine Arts on Lenin Square 2 an exhibition of paintings and drawings was opened by one of the great Russian artists – Ivan Shishkin.
First of all, it is worth noting the the general state of things in the art of the second half of the 19th century. All areas of art united in the struggle against the autocratic system, the struggle for realism, nationality and national identity. Artists fought with the official court art of the Academy of Arts. In 1863, the famous “exit of fourteen” happened – the leavingof the 14 strongest students from the Academy, soon after which the Association of Wanderers appeared, which Ivan Ivanovich Shishkin later joined.
Ivan Shishkin is not just a landscape painter, but a “singer of Russian nature”, “a hero of the Russian forest”. The accuracy of the drawing, meticulous painting and addiction to monumental compositions distinguish it from other artists. He has a love of Russian nature from birth: rich forests in the region of Yelabuga, the contemporary republic of Tatarstan, surround the artist throughout his childhood and youth. Shishkin is inspired by what can be called typical places of Russian nature: this is the breadth of space, a high blue sky, a golden field, mighty pine treesы.
In his art, Shishkin is guided by the firm conviction that nature is beautiful in itself, the artist’s task is to tirelessly and lovingly study it and convey it as accurately as possible. In his best paintings, the careful development of details and the integrity of the overall impression, concretization and reliability of individual elements are organically combined.
The wish to achieve maximum truthfulness in the image and to give the objective meaning to the content of his paintings leads Shishkin at first to an analytical study of nature, to the study of all the details he noticed, which seemed to him to significantly complement the idea of the diversity of forest life that struck him. Therefore, in Shishkin’s early works, a certain narrowness of understanding of this problem is revealed: all the artist’s attention is focused on the extremely accurate depiction of each individual subject without the generalization’s search for generalization.
Apparently, only full-scale studies could become the source of the development and enrichment of painting for Shishkin. Beginning in the summer of 1872, he really worked hard on sketches and, according to Kramskoy, “improved in color.” Unfortunately, Shishkin remained within the bounds of the black-and-white understanding of the open air; he did not care about color issues, which limited his creative range. In Shishkin’s paintings, you can often see even, diffuse lighting. Keeping in many respects the method of work he adopted, on the basis of “knowing nature in a scientific way,” Shishkin nevertheless overcame the weaknesses of his early works.
Shishkin’s new searches cannot be regarded as a turning point in the artist’s work. For him, it was more like moving forward along the previous path, mastering what was still not sufficiently developed and incompletely expressed even in such a seemingly familiar and familiar topic as forest life. In all these searches, the artist always remains himself.
The legacy left by the artist is not limited to paintings. No less significant place is occupied in it by the drawing and albums of etchings published during the life of the artist, in the creation of which Shishkin follows the tireless quest, as in painting. Always keen on revealing the shape of objects of the plant world, whether it be a majestically proud pine tree or a modest forest flower, Shishkin fell in love with the very nature of the pattern with its inherent linear principle. Since the study of nature and work in nature were, so to speak, the artist’s element, it is natural that full-scale pencil drawings occupied a special place in his work and the improvement of the mastery of full-scale drawing went side by side with the development of a picturesque study.
The exhibition runs until December 15, 2019. Take at least an hour of your time to visit it!
In addition, free excursions for adults and children are held on weekends when buying an entrance ticket – you can learn more about this on the museum website arhmuseum.ru or on its social networks.
Photography: Arkhangelsk Museum Association
sources used in the russian language:
- “The General History of Art in 6 Volumes, Volume 5”, 1964 — 865 p.
- “History of Art in 13 Volumes, Volume 9, Book 1”, 1965 — 587 p.
- N.N. Mamontova “Ivan Shichkin”, 2010 — 133 p.
- N.M. Sokolnikova “The history of fine art. Volume 2”, 2007 — 217 p.
- “Art Gallery. Ivan Shishkin”, 2005 — 30 p.
- “Great Russian artists. Ivan Shishkin”, 2014 — 40 p.
- “Great artists. Ivan Shishkin”, 2009 — 48 p.
- “Masters of painting. Ivan Shishkin”, 2001 — 67 p.