Classical Russian Landscape Painter
Self Portrait: 1880
I have three perspectives of Issac Levitan for you to peruse and consider. One is from Wikipedia, another comes from Biographical Essays, and finally a short biographical sketch from Russiapedia Art. Portions of them are, of course, redundant but yet I think there are unique perspectives to look at.
Isaac Levitan was born in a shtetl of Wirballen, Kowno region, now Lithuania, into a poor but educated Jewish family. His father Elyashiv Levitan was the son of a rabbi, completed a Yeshiva and was self-educated. He taught German and French in Kowno and later worked as a translator at a railway bridge construction for a French building company. At the beginning of 1870 the Levitan family moved to Moscow.
In September 1873, Isaac Levitan entered the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture where his older brother Avel had already studied for two years. After a year in the copying class Isaac transferred into a naturalistic class, and soon thereafter into a landscape class. Levitan's teachers were the famous Alexei Savrasov, Vasily Perov and Vasily Polenov.
In 1875, his mother died, and his father fell seriously ill and became unable to support four children; he died in 1877. The family slipped into abject poverty. As patronage for Levitan's talent and achievements, his Jewish origins and to keep him in the school, he was given a scholarship.
In 1877, Isaac Levitan's works were first publicly exhibited and earned favorable recognition from the press. After Alexander Soloviev's assassination attempt on Alexander II, in May 1879, mass deportations of Jews from big cities of the Russian Empire forced the family to move to the suburb of Saltykovka, but in the fall officials responded to pressure from art devotees, and Levitan was allowed to return. In 1880 his painting (Autumn Day, Sokolniki) was bought by famous philanthropist and art collector Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov. (See also Tretyakov Gallery)
Autumn Day, Sokolniki: 1879
During the late 1870's he often worked in the vicinity of Moscow, and created the special variant of the "landscape of mood", in which the shape and condition of nature are spiritualized, and become carriers of conditions of the human soul.
The landscape painter deeply felt both the lyrical, revealing, unique charm and quiet greatness of Russian nature. Acknowledged as one of Russia's greatest landscape painters. His works are noted for their pensive observations of nature, reflected in muted light and melancholy colors.
In 1877, Isaac Levitan's works were first publicly exhibited and earned favorable recognition from the press. In 1880 his Autumn day. Sokolniki was bought by famous philanthropist and art collector Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov.
The latter days of fall are often cursed,
But as for me, kind reader, she is precious
In all her quiet beauty, mellow glow.
Thus might a child, disfavored in its family,
Draw my regard. To tell you honestly,
Of all the times of year, I cherish her alone.
She's full of worth; and I, a humble lover,
Have found in her peculiar charms.
How can this be explained? I favor her
As you might one day find yourself attracted
To a consumptive maid. Condemned to death,
The poor child languishes without complaint or anger.
A smile plays upon her withering lips;
She cannot sense as yet the gaping maw of death;
A crimson glow still flits across her face.
Today she lives, tomorrow she is gone.
A melancholy time! So charming to the eye!
Your beauty in its parting pleases me -
I love the lavish withering of nature,
The gold and scarlet raiment of the woods,
The crisp wind rustling o'er their threshold,
The sky engulfed by tides of rippled gloom,
The sun's scarce rays, approaching frosts,
And gray-haired winter threatening from afar.
From: Isaac Levitan. Autumn Day, Sokolniki
Portrait of Isaac Levitan by Valentin Serov: 1883
In the spring of 1884 Levitan participated in the mobile art exhibition by the group known as the Peredvizhniki and in 1891 became a member of the Peredvizhniki partnership. During his study in the Moscow School of painting, sculpturing and architecture, Levitan befriended Konstantin Korovin, Mikhail Nesterov, architect Fyodor Shekhtel, and the painter Nikolai Chekhov, whose famous brother Anton Chekhov became the artist's closest friend. Levitan often visited Chekhov and some think Levitan was in love with his sister, Maria Pavlovna Chekhova.
In the early 1880's Levitan collaborated with the Chekhov brothers on the illustrated magazine "Moscow" and illustrated the M. Fabritsius edition "Kremlin". Together with Korovin in 1885-1886 he painted scenery for performances of the Private Russian opera of Savva Mamontov.
In the 1880's he participated in the drawing and watercolor gatherings at Polenov's house.
Levitan's work was a profound response to the lyrical charm of the Russian landscape. Levitan did not paint urban landscapes; with the exception of the View of Simonov Monastery (whereabouts unknown), mentioned by Nesterov, the city of Moscow appears only in the painting Illumination of the Kremlin. During the late 1870's he often worked in the vicinity of Moscow, and created the special variant of the "landscape of mood", in which the shape and condition of nature are spiritualized, and become carriers of conditions of the human soul (Autumn Day, Sokolniki, 1879). During work in Ostankino, he painted fragments of the mansion's house and park, but he was most fond of poetic places in the forest or modest countryside. Characteristic of his work is a hushed and nearly melancholic reverie amidst pastoral landscapes largely devoid of human presence. Fine examples of these qualities include The Vladimirka Road, 1892 Evening Bells, 1892, and Eternal Rest, 1894, all in the Tretyakov Gallery. Though his late work displayed familiarity with Impressionism, his palette was generally muted, and his tendencies were more naturalistic and poetic than optical or scientific.
View of Simonov Monastery
The Vladimirka Road: 1892
Levitan often combined his realistic vision with a strong message. In this case, the desolation of the landscape echoes the message conveyed by the road itself. The Vladimirka road is the road taken by the exiles to reach Siberia. Levitan was probably making reference to his own exile, which occurred in the same period. Like many political prisoners, he had been evicted from Moscow because he was Jewish, and this experience would leave a profound mark on the painter's soul. The sky and the fields are all part of the symbolic message that Levitan wants to render through his painting. Colors are dull and rather unattractive. Levitan chooses browns and dull greens so that nothing would stand out; the sky is blue-gray, cloudy, and unforgiving. There is no sun peeking from behind the clouds, as if the painter wanted to say that there is little hope for those who would take that road. The landscape is flat and, with the exception of the trees in the background, has no other vegetation except some sparse yellowish grass. The road appears to have no end. Perhaps Levitan is trying to say that the prisoners are forever itinerants or that Russia is so vast that human beings "vanish" in its unlimited space. There are no human figures, which seems to be a characteristic feature of realistic landscapes of other painters and of Levitan himself. Actually, the tendency to "de-humanize" compositions by excluding human figures would be a recurrent feature in Levitan's works.
Quoted From: LEVITAN: THE VLADIMIRKA ROAD
Evening Bells: 1892
This is one of the genius masterworks of the great Isaak Levitan. One can see from this painting that Orthodoxy permeated the entire culture of Great Russia. Although Jewish, Mr. Levitan painted some of the most meaningful and powerful images in the Orthodox repertoire. There is no indication in this canvas to tell the viewer that this work was not the work of a Christian. If such was true in 19th century Russia, the same must hold true today. Therefore, any artwork produced in the contemporary West has to work against the prevalent atheistic mindset, so, one can see that the influence (sadly) can work both ways!
Quoted From: Isaak Levitan, Evening Bells: 1892 - Art and Faith
Above Eternal Peace: 1894
Above the Eternal Peace
Isaac Levitan is an outstanding master of the "moody" landscape, in which the personal, emotional and the lyrical are forcefully emphasized. Levitan's landscapes are dominated by an elegiac mood, close to what has come to be known as Chekhovian. The painter sees nature as endowed with an inner life of its own.
Lurking behind the mirror of a dammed stream is an unexplainable threat, there is something mysterious in the haunting beauty of the abandoned look, danger seems to loom in the quiet dusk at nightfall.
The picture "Above the Eternal Peace" is distinguished by a feeling of boundless expanse, as if the painter has been amazed by the very endlessness of the Earth. The grey Northern skies are reflected in the empty and cold waters of the lake with fluffy clouds hanging above it. Nature stands immobile in its primeval majesty. Time has stopped above the lake and the green promontory with the little church cemetery and the leaning crosses over the graves and only a twinkling light reminds one of how transitory human life is. Levitan's refined palette is equally matched to the depiction of objectively observable and subjectively perceived nature.
His manner is distinguished by a leading colour key determining the emotional force of the landscape. Levitan displays a special simplicity of feeling, which, however, is lacking neither in intimacy nor in depth.
If his earlier works were chiefly of an intimate and lyrical character, his mature art becomes philosophical, expressing the artist's meditation about man and the world. These pictures were particularly loved by the Russian intellectuals of the time, for they represented the purest specimen of the 'mood landscape', most popular in Russia at the end of the 19th century. To this period belongs "The Vladimirka Road" (1892), a rare example of social historical landscape; Levitan painted the tragically famous road, along which convicts were marched to Siberia. In "Above the Eternal Peace" (1894) the artist's meditations about the controversies of life, about the transience of human being, gained almost monumental scale and philosophic character.
The Tears - 1914
Tears... again these bitter tears,
For broken dreams that flew far away,
For dreaded sadness that nothing cheers,
For new darkness, that nothing keeps at bay.
What is to come? More such torment?
No, its enough... It is time to rest, let go,
And to forget the sounds of lament,
A heart is full and can stand it no more.
Who is singing in the shade of the birch tree?
The sounds are familiar- the tears again...
These tears are for my homeland and to me
They are full of longing, worry and pain.
I am in my beloved country; yet, my grave-
Heart languishes in tears, I weep...
Now it seems that only in a cold grave
I will be able to forget and find some sleep.
Translation by K.M.W. Klara
Quoted From: Isaac Levitan - Above the Eternal Peace
Another View of 'Above the Eternal Peace'
In the summer of 1890 Levitan went to Yuryevets and among numerous landscapes and etudes he painted The View of Krivooserski Monastery. So the plan of one of his best pictures, The Silent Monastery, was born. The image of a silent monastery and planked bridges over the river, connecting it with the outside world, expressed the artist's spiritual reflections. It is known that this picture made a strong impression on Chekhov.
(The Silent Monastery): 1890
Quiet Abode: 1890
In the summer of 1890 Levitan went to Yuryevets and among numerous landscapes and etudes he painted The View of Krivooserski Monastery. So the plan of one of his best pictures, Quiet Abode (The Silent Monastery), was born. The image of a silent monastery and planked bridges over the river, connecting it with the outside world, expressed the artist's spiritual reflections. It is known that this picture made a strong impression on Chekhov.
Be silent, hide yourself, conceal
Your feelings and your dreams.
And let them rise and set
In your soul's depths
As soundless as the stars at night.
Admire them - and yet stay silent.
How can a heart reveal itself?
How can another fathom you?
All that sustains you comprehend?
A thought once spoken is a lie.
Digging disturbs the spring.
Partake of it-and yet stay silent.
Learn how to live within yourself -
There is within your soul a world entire
Of enigmatic, magic thoughts.
Ambient noise will muffle them,
And daylight's rays will scatter them,-
Heed their melody - and yet stay silent!
In 1897, already world-famous, he was elected to the Imperial Academy of Arts and in 1898 he was named the head of the Landscape Studio at his alma mater.
Levitan spent the last year of his life at Chekhov's home in Crimea. In spite of the effects of a terminal illness, his last works are increasingly filled with light. They reflect tranquility and the eternal beauty of Russian nature.
He was buried in Dorogomilovo Jewish cemetery. In April 1941 Levitan's remains were moved to the Novodevichy Cemetery, next to Chekhov's necropolis. Levitan did not have a family or children.
Isaac Levitan's hugely influential art heritage consists of more than a thousand paintings, among them watercolors, pastels, graphics, and illustrations.
From: Isaac Levitan - Wikipedia
ISAAK LEVITAN, 1860-1900
by Victor Potoskuev
"What can be more tragic than to feel the grandeur of the surrounding beauty and to be able to see in it its underlying mystery... and yet to be aware of your own inability to express these large feelings"-- Isaak LevitanIsaak Levitan was born in 1860 in Kibarty, a small town in Lithuania, to the family of a blue-collar railroad worker. From 1873 to 1885, he attended the Moscow College of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in Moscow, Russia. He studied under the famous Russian painters Savrasov and Polenov. From 1884, he displayed his paintings with the Society for Circulating Art Exhibitions* and in 1891 became member of the Society. From 1898, Levitan taught landscape painting at the Moscow College of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. Over the 40 years of his life, Isaak Levitan produced many landscapes which were later recognized as the finest masterpieces of Russian art. Levitan never looked for exotic and pretentious subjects for his painting. Although he traveled to other countries, he remained faithful to simple poetic motifs of his native land. The natural simplicity of motif and composition is the hallmark of Levitan's artistic genius. It was evident from the very outset of Levitan's career that he had an extraordinary ability to awaken deep feelings by the means of landscape painting. Even though people are usually absent from his canvases, his works unfailingly speak of humanity. Levitan's paintings tell us something about ourselves by touching the chords of our spirit. Nature is presented through the prism of personal human experience. Hence Levitan's landscapes are often reckoned philosophical and psychological. The complexity of the human soul and the destiny of human being are the true subjects of his works. In his early years, Levitan painted views of various places in the Moscow area. One of the best works of this period is "Autumn Day, Sokolniky". This piece is the artist's elegy to the gray autumn day in one of the Moscow parks.
Autumn Day: 1879
During the second period of his artistic career, Levitan was inspired the Volga. The painter spent several summers on the banks of the great Russian river. Plyos, a small town on the Volga, was Levitan's favorite spot, where he painted several canvases which made an invaluable contribution to the advancement of landscape painting in Russia.
View in Plios: 1888
The Volga, A Calm Day: 1895
From 1892 to 1895, Levitan divided his time between the towns of Vladimir, Vyshny Volochek, and the Tver region. The works of this period are considered to be the most powerful philosophical reflections of the artist on the destiny of man. The canvas "By the Deep Waters" conjures up the images of folk tales about the drowned. "The Vladimirka Road" depicts the route which was customarily used to lead prisoners to exile in the Siberia. "Over the Eternal Rest" speaks of the irreconcilable dualism of life and death. But not all the paintings of this period are characterized by such a dramatic outlook. A joyous hymn to life is heard in such works as "March", "Fresh Wind, The Volga", and "The Golden Autumn".
By the Deep Waters
Over the Eternal Rest
Fresh Wind, Volga: 1895
Golden Autumn: 1895
The last large canvas by Levitan is titled "The Lake, Russia (Rus.)" This monumental work, perhaps, parallels Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto. The artist's goal was to create an image that would be a summation of all that from the artist's perspective was typically Russian: vast expanses of water and land, white silhouettes of churches, enormous clouds driven by the wind, and rustling reeds. The canvas remained unfinished due to the painter's death. Isaak Levitan was buried at the Novodevichiye cemetery in Moscow in 1900.The great Russian opera singer Fyodor Shalyapin, a friend of Levitan's, spoke of the art of the painter: It has helped me realize that the most important thing in art is this feeling, this spirit, this prophetic word that sets the human heart on fire... and this prophetic word can be expressed not only in speech and gesture but also in line and color." * The Society for Circulating Art Exhibitions (1870-1923) was a major democratic association of Russian realist painters. It united many progressive-minded personalities of the time. The members of the Society organized annual art exhibits in St. Petersburg and Moscow. These exhibits were then displayed in provincial towns.The popularization of the art of painting was the greatest contribution of the Society to Russian culture.The members of the Society are also known as the Itinerants (Peredvizhniky). Among the Itinerants were Kramskoy, Repin, Surikov, Polenov, Shishkin, Serov, and other famous Russian realist painters.
From: Isaak Levitan: Biographical Essay
The Lake, Russia (Rus.)
The last, unfinished Levitan painting. Levitan spent the last year of his life at Chekhov's home in Crimea. In spite of the effects of a terminal illness, his last works are increasingly filled with light. They reflect tranquility and the eternal beauty of Russian nature.
The main product late of Levitan became the large picture "Lake" (1898-1900), or, as the artist named it for itself, - The Lake, Russia. Begun, under some items of information, under impression from poetry of the Alexander Pushkin, above illustrations to which he worked at the end of 1890 years, and first of all from landscape motive of a poem "O storm-cloud, the tempest's survival".
Storm Cloud - 1835
O storm-cloud, the tempest's survival, alone
Like mad do you rush o'er the heavenly dome;
Alone do you cast as you drift on your way
A dark, brooding shade on the jubilant day.
A short while ago you lay cloaking the sky,
And great forks of lightning flared round you on high.
You thundered and roared over forest and plain
And fed thirsting earth with a bounty of rain.
Enough! Make you haste! Do not tarry... Be gone!
The earth is refreshed, and the rain-storm has flown,
And tame though the wind is, it stubbornly tries
To make you desert the now radiant skies.
This cloth became Swan-Song of Levitan
Oh, how desperately I want to live - 1914
Oh, how desperately I want to live:
Immortalize the real,
Personify the faceless,
Give flesh to the nonexistent!
Life's crushing dream may smother me
I may suffocate as I dream, -
And yet a lighthearted youth, perhaps
Will say of me in times to come:
Let us forgive his gloom - could it be
That it was really his secret drive?
"He's but a child of goodness and light
He's but freedom's triumph!"
From: Isaac Levitan. The Lake. Russia (Rus)
Prominent Russians: Isaac Levitan
August 30, 1860 - July 22, 1900
Isaac Ilyich Levitan was a famous Russian painter, a master of landscape painting and founder of the "mood landscape" genre.Levitan was born in a nameless village near the border town of Verzhbolovo (now Virbalis, Lithuania) into an educated, intellectual but poor Jewish family. His father, who was a language teacher tried not only to make ends meet for his family but also to educate his children, and Levitan received basic education at home. At the end of the 1870's his family moved to Moscow. There, in spite of an even worse financial situation, Levitan's parents were loyal to their children's passion to art, which they showed early on, and didn't oppose Isaac's decision to become an artist and attend the Moscow College of Art, Sculpture and Architecture. In 1875 Isaac's mother died, and two years later, typhus took his father. Levitan spent his youth in dire need and poverty. He was soon expelled from the college for failing to pay for his studies, but his friends gathered the necessary money, and he was able to return to his lessons. Later, the college's teachers' council decided to let him study for free and even granted him a small stipend for showing great success in art. The same year he transferred to a natural science class under Vasily Perov. Perov, one of the founders of the Society of Traveling Art Exhibitions (a society of Russian realist artists formed in 1870), was an outstanding artist and teacher. Later, Levitan was taken into apprenticeship by the famous landscape artist Aleksey Savrasov, who took notice of Levitan's talents and tried to provide some monetary aid to him. In 1877, the fifth traveling art exhibition arrived in Moscow and was displayed in the college building. The exhibition featured two of Levitan's paintings: "Evening" ("Vecher") and "A Sunny Day, Spring" ("Solnechnyi den. Vesna"). Despite the fact that they received high acclaim, the College Council refused to give him a medal and only offered a diploma that gave him the right to teach art.
Sunny Day, Spring: 1877
In December 1879 a second students' exhibition opened, where Levitan displayed his painting "A Day in Autumn, Sokolniki" ("Osenniy den. Sokolniki"). The work was purchased by Pavel Tretyakov, the founder of the Tretyakov Gallery. For the first time, Levitan's talent was officially acknowledged.In the summers of 1880-1884 he depicted the nature of Moscow's Ostankino Region. Later, he drew backgrounds for operas to earn his way to the Crimea. Only in the mid 1880's did his financial situation improve, thanks to his hard work and sacrifice. However, a starving childhood and a stressful life took their toll on his health in the form of a degenerative heart disease. A trip to the Crimea managed to improve Levitan's condition. Upon returning, he organized a personal exhibition of 60 landscape paintings. In 1887 Levitan fulfilled his dream and traveled to the banks of the Volga River. The beautiful nature inspired him to paint more varying landscapes. The "Volga Period" lasted until 1890. During this time he created many beautiful and varied paintings, showing his vision of different conditions of nature. In March 1891 Levitan became a member of the Society of Traveling Art Exhibitions, and by the end of the year, displayed ten of his paintings at a Moscow Society of Art Lovers exhibition. He received wide acclaim from both fellow artists and the public. Levitan went abroad to test himself by visiting art galleries to see how artists worked in Europe. He went to France, Italy, Germany and Switzerland, but, being a true patriot, he could not stand prolonged periods far from home. Levitan created his "grand painting" in the town of Plyos in the Ivanovo Region, on the banks of the Volga. The work was named "The Quiet Haven" ("Tikhaya Obitel"). His contemporaries claimed the painting showed Russian nature as "something new yet very close and dear" Since then, every Traveling Exhibition, every exhibition of the Moscow Art Lovers Society and every International Exhibition in Munich featured works by Levitan. In September 1892 Levitan had to leave Moscow when Emperor Alexander III ordered the expulsion of all Jews. Levitan's friends in Moscow and Saint Petersburg protested, demanding his return, and finally, authorities had to let him back into the city, as he was not only famous in Russia, but also abroad. Starting from 1898 Levitan taught landscape painting at the Moscow College of Art, Sculpture and Architecture, showing great pedagogic capabilities. The 28th Traveling Art Exhibition featured works by two of his students, who were later accepted by the Society's older generation members. However, of all his contemporaries, Levitan closest ties were to the famous writer Anton Chekhov, both in work and in friendship. They met at the end of the 1870's when both were poor students. They kept in contact during the1880's, constantly meeting in Moscow and the Moscow Region. They became very close in 1885, and remained best friends until Levitan's last days. Their friendship was based on a similar perception of nature and the world as a whole. They also shared views on religion, showing equal respect to all denominations. In March 1894 Levitan moved to the Tver Region, and later to Gorki, starting the final stages of his work. 1895 was a very difficult year for the artist. Heart illness sapped his strength with shots of pain and choking; melancholy and troublesin his private life led him to despair and suicide attempts. But his love of nature and art sustained him and helped him overcome his illness and make new discoveries in art. In 1898 Levitan was given the title of academic of landscape painting. He still taught in the College of Art, Sculpture and Architecture. His paintings were on display at Russia-wide exhibitions, at International exhibitions in Munich and the World Exhibition in Paris. He became internationally famous. But his health started failing, his heart disease progressing quickly. Treatment abroad only helped for a short time. Levitan first wanted to name his last painting "Rus," synthesizing the pursuits of his life in a single work. The painting, which was finally named "The Lake" ("Ozero") shows a collective image of Russian nature and the artist's last thoughts and feelings - those of Russia, his Motherland. Levitan, the author of over a thousand paintings, died on 22 June 1900. From: Isaac Levitan - Russiapedia Art Prominent Russians
Various Works of Isaac Levitan
A Haystack: 1894
After the Rain, Plyos: 1889
Autumn, Road in a Village: 1877
Autumn, The Manor: 1894
Autumn Landscape: 1890
Autumn Landscape: 1890
Autumn Landscape with a Church: 1890
Barges, The Volga: 1889
Birch Forest: Date Unknown
Bird-Cherry Tree: 1880
Boulevard in the Evening: 1883
By the Riverside: 1880
By the Riverside: 1890
Canal In Venice: 1890
Cloudy Day: 1895
Corniche, Southern France: Date Unknown
Crimea, In The Mountains: 1886
Edge of a Forest: 1880
Evening, The Golden Pool: 1889
Evening in the Field: 1883
Evening on the Volga: 1888
Field After Harvest: 1897
Fog, Autumn: 1899
Footpath in a Forest, Ferns: 1895
Golden Autumn: 1895
Isaac Levitan is the greatest Russian landscape-painter and poet of the end of the 19th century; he is a craftsman of a soulful "landscape-mood". An unusual seeing of light, which is one in a thousand, advertence to a movement, and imperceptible changes in nature life are peculiar for his dowry. The Levitan's name became symbolical long ago, and his work became the most completed and perfect soul of the Russian lyrical landscape idea.
Leo Tolstoy once said, "The basis of human happiness is the possibility to be together with nature, to see it and to talk to it". Levitan was granted this happy feeling as hardly any other human being ever was. He also knew the joy of recognition by his contemporaries and of friendship with the best among them. Levitan ranks among the most appreciated and loved of Russian artists.
Sergey Esenin - 1924
The grove of golden trees has fallen silent,
Shorn of its gay leaves, in mute silhouette,
And so the cranes in sad file past it flying
Have no cause any more to feel regret.
For whom, for what? We are all rovers, starting
Out, coming home awhile, then traveling on.
The hemp field's dreaming of all who departed
And there's a full moon gazing at the pond.
I stand alone, the bare expanses viewing,
While on the wind the cranes are borne away.
Remembrance of my merry youth pursuing,
I find nothing I would relive today.
I don't regret the years that I have wasted,
I don't regret the lilac time of life.
A rowan fire is in the orchard blazing
But none shall from its brightness warmth derive.
Red rowan-berry clusters cannot scorch you,
The grasses will no yellow and decline.
As leaves fall softly from a tree in autumn
So I let fall these mournful words of mine.
And if time with its breezy broom should pile them
Into a heap to burn without regret…
Just say this … that the golden grove fell silent,
Shorn of its leaves, in pensive silhouette.
From: Isaac Levitan. Golden Autumn
Haystacks, Twilight: 1899
High Waters: 1885
House With Broom, Trees: 1880
In the Mountains in the Crimea: 1886
In the Vicinity of Bordiguera, in the North of Italy: 1890
Jewish Woman in an Oriental Shawl: 1884
Lake Como: 1894
Landscape on the Volga, Boats by the Riverbank: Date Unknown
Landscape with an Izba: 1889
Landscape with Buildings: Date Unknown
Late Autumn: 1898
Meadow on the Edge of a Forest: 1898
Mediterranean Seacoast: 1890
Moonlit Night, A Village: 1897
Moonlit Night, A Village: 1897
Moonlit Night: 1899
Mountain Range, Mount Blanc: Date Unknown
On the Volga: 1888
Overgrown Pond: 1887
Overgrown Pond: 1887
Portrait of Nikolay Panafidin: 1891
Remains of the Past, Twilight, Finland: 1897
Road in a Wood: 1881
Saklia in Alupka: 1886
Seashore, The Crimea: 1890
Shadows, Moonlit Night: 1880
Sheaves and a Village Beyond The River: 1880
Small Hut in a Meadow: Date Unknown
Snowbound Garden: 1880
Spring Flood: 1897
Spring in Italy: Date Unknown
Stormy Day: 1897
Summer Evening, Village Outskirts: 1900
Sunny Day, A Village: 1898
Sunny Day: 1884
Sunny Day: 1898
Sunset Over A Forest Lake: 1890
The Apiary: Date Unknown
The First Green, May 1883
The Gully: 1898
The Istra River: 1886
The Lake, Barns at the Edge of a Forest: 1899
The Lake, Eventide: 1890
The Lake, Russia
The Lake: 1898
The Lake: 1899
The Last Rays of the Sun: 1899
The Last Snow: 1884
The Twilight, The Moon: Date Unknown
In 1897, Levitan felt sick, a severe cardiac disease was revealed. Nevertheless, notwithstanding the permanent menace of death, he worked with a particular intensity and inspiration. His latest works are distinguished by a confident mastership, richness of technical methods, and new stylistic trends. One can feel the influence of ancient Russian art, which attracted him at the period, and that of modern style, and the newest searches in French painting, which Levitan always took a lively interest in. Nevertheless, Levitan did not join modern art and remained true to realism, utterly alien to mythologizing and stylization. Most characteristic in the late 1890's were numerous paintings of quiet twilights, moonlit nights, sleeping villages (Haystacks. Twilight. (1899), Sunny Day. (1898) and many others).
Sergey Esenin (Yesenin)
The river quietly dreams.
Dark forest stands still.
Crake doesn't scream.
And nightingales don't trill.
It's a night of silence.
The rill hardly makes a sound,
While moon's brilliance
Silvers everything around.
Silver shines the river.
Silver shines the rill.
Silver shines and shivers
Dewy grass on the hill.
Night. Just silence.
All nature sleeps, safe and sound,
While moon's brilliance
Silvers everything around.
Translated from original by K.M.W. Klara
The Volga, A Calm Day: 1895
Valley of a River: 1890
Valley of the River, Autumn: Date Unknown
Village in Winter: 1878
Village on the Bank of a River: 1880
White Lilac: 1895
Art by Isaac Levitan - Museum Syndicate
Isaac Levitan - Olga's Gallery
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