Ivan Ivanovich Shishkin (1832 – 1898)
Oil on canvas, 1898
165õ252 ñì cm
The State Russian Museum,St. Petersburg, Russia
Before XX of century, when there are various currents and directions, there are searches of new art styles, forms and receptions, Shishkin continues confidently to follow on times the elected ways, creating vitally truthful, substantial and typical images of Russian nature.
"Man - school, but alive school", - has said about Shishkin Ivan Kramskoy. In the letter to most thin landscape-lyrics Feodor Vasilyev. By these words the ideological leader of the Peredvizhniki movement as though emphasized lasting meaning creativity of Shishkin for the future generations Russian landscape writers, including for those who, is like Feodor Vasilyev and Isaac Levitan, will go after Shishkin and on the basis of him achievement of objective beauty of Russian nature will realize this objective beauty in so national intimate-lyrical images.
The landscapes of Shishkin have not conceded a place to landscapes Isaac Levitan, and continued to live together and near to them. Two years prior to death Levitan, when expression "Levitan’s landscape" already strongly has come in art uses, Shishkin creates one of the masterpieces – Mast-Tree Grove (1898) - picture, classical on completeness and versatile art image, perfection of a composition; a mighty free song about Russian nature, from which proceeds by worthy calmness and unperturbable force. The motives, absent-minded on former pictures of Shishkin, are composed here in the unique symphony, legendary build with which so solemnly and with advantage tells about eternal life of an eternally varying nature.
At the end of life Shishkin the poet of Russian wood again appears at the contemporaries as, and the thin comparison, made in a picture, of mighty centuries-old greens pines, covered by the sun, disappearing in a shadow and leaving by tops far for a frame of a picture, with young thin young pines, going on change to old giants, as though emphasizes this eternal movement of life, eternal change of old new and young. The riches and variety of life of Russian nature, vigorous and joyful feeling, asserting life, which covers the spectator of a Mast-Tree Grove, speak (and will speak him always!) about inexhaustible forces of native ground, about its wood riches, about its proud, not growing old, eternally updated beauty.
Mast-Tree Grove for the first time was shown on XXVI to an exhibition of Company ïåðåäâèæíèêîâ and has called general admiration. The Shishkin friend, artist Savicki, here has written the enthusiastic letter to the not growing old colleague: "The Picture has played, the note strong, wonderful - not I congratulates, one, all are admired, bravo... By a pine at an exhibition has begun to smell! The sun, light has arrived!..".
In a basis of this landscape the air-etudes are fixed, uted by Shishkin in native woods about Kama, where he has found the ideal - synthesis of harmony and greatness. But in product that deepest knowledge of Russian nature is embodied also which was saved by the foreman for almost half -century creative life. The sketch - variant kept in State Russian museum, has an author's inscription: "Afonasovskaia Mast-Tree Grove about Yelabuga". That the artist, creating a picture, was based on alive, concrete impressions, informs her the special persuasiveness. And the reliability of an image is combined here with wide generalization and very typical.
At the centre the powerful trunks, covered by the sun, century pines are selected. The rich crones throw on them a shadow. In the distance - penetrated by warm light, as if calling to itself space grove. Has cut off by a frame of a top of trees (reception often meeting at Shishkin), he strengthens impression the greatness of trees, with which as if does not suffice a place on a cloth. The magnificent straight linees of a pine are given in all plastic beauty. Their surface in scales is written with use of many colours. Shishkin was and remained up to the end the unsurpassed connoisseur of a tree, artist which is not having the contenders in the image of a coniferous wood.
As always he slowly tells about life of this wood per serene summer day. An emerald grass and grayish greens are lowered to fine, running on stones and sand stream. Thrown through it the fence speaks about close presence of the man. Two the flied up yellow butterflies above water, greenish reflections in her, hardly light-blue reflexes from the sky sliding slightly lilac shadows on trunks introduce quivering pleasure of life, not breaking thus of impression of the rest, present in a nature. Became fine written a place on the right with brown from the sun by a grass, dry ground and young trees, sated on colour. Various, revealing the form and the invoice the strokes emphasize softness of a grass, fluffy needles, fortress of trunks. Rich nuances of colour. In all are felt the perfected skill sure hand of the artist.
Picture Mast-Tree Grove (largest on the sizes in Shishkin’s creativity) - as though last, finishing image in the epopee, created by him symbolizing mighty Russian force. Realization such great plan, as this product, testifies, that the artist 66 years old was in completeness of creative forces, but on it his way in art has broken. 8 March (20), 1898 he has died in the workshop, where began a new picture "Wood empire".
The picture Mast-Tree Grove, combining in itself harmony and greatness, became worthy end of integral and original creativity "of the singer of Russian wood".