Colors of the Russian Forest Drawn by Ivan Shishkin (Photo Feature) –Russia Beyond

May 31, 2021

Alexandra Guzewa

Russian classical painter Ivan Shishkin (1831-1898) is very well known for his paintings of Russian forests and is known as the “Forest Hero”. However, the Russian forest drawn by Shishkin’s brush is neither dense nor dangerous, but a familiar one surrounded by the sun.

Pine on the rock, 1855year

This study and sculpture, painted during the Moscow Painting School, was purchased by the Russian Museum, which collects Russian art in St. Petersburg. The successful Shishkin moved to Petersburg and continued to study painting at the Academy of Painting.

View of Vallam Island (Kukko), 1859year

As a student, Shishkin painted nature while traveling a lot in the rocky forests of Karelia. In 1860, the film won the Academy’s gold medal and received a European travel scholarship.

View of the suburbs of Düsseldorf, 1865year

Shishkin was commissioned by collector Nikolai Bykov to paint this work in Germany. Shishkin was also awarded the title of member of the Academy of Painting in St. Petersburg for this work. Soon, however, Shishkin, who missed the scenery of his hometown, returned to Russia.

Rye field, 1878year

In one of the sketches, Shishkin wrote, “Size, spread, meadows. Rye fields. God’s grace. The richness of Russia.” In fact, landscape paintings are the closest, most familiar and difficult to modify for Russians. Shishkin looked at the nature of his hometown of Yelabuga (now Tatarstan). The work was exhibited at an exhibition of Peredvizhniki painters, where Pavel Tretyakov immediately purchased the work.

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Stream of birch forest, 1883year

Shishkin has a close relationship with Peredvizhniki painters, realism painters, and painters who draw ethnic themes, and has often participated in exhibitions of Peredvizhniki painters. Close friend Ivan Kramskoi, who painted several portraits of Shishkin, said that as a landscape painter, Shishkin was “still endlessly superior to any painter.”

Ground Elder, 1884, a corner of an overgrown gardenyear

At the Düsseldorf School of Painting, Shishkin began to give a special love to the natural world, the undecorated side of nature. Therefore, the study reminiscent of a part of the painting work is also an independent work that pays attention to the details.

Forest distant view, 1884year

Shishkin was originally diligent, but sad events made him more and more absorbed in his work. First, the mother of Shishkin’s children, the first wife, died, but after her second marriage, she suffered the same pain.

Palm tree, night, 1887year

In the works of the 1880s, it can be seen that Shishkin’s technique was further improved. Although Shishkin was already widely recognized as a painter, he never stopped studying nature. “There is no end to artistic activity, the quest for nature. I can’t say that I know everything completely and have nothing to learn anymore,” Shishkin wrote.

Morning in a pine forest, 1889year

This is arguably Shishkin’s most famous work. The work was enthusiastically accepted by contemporary people and was purchased by renowned collector Pavel Tretyakov for his gallery in Moscow. In the Soviet Union, this picture was used as a wrapping paper for the candy “Mishka Kosolapui”, and all Russian children are still familiar with it.

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Winter, 1890year

Shishkin liked the popping green color and didn’t draw much winter paintings. For example, the blue sky is one of the important details in this gloomy, almost monochrome work.

In the northern wild, 1891year

This work literally expresses the romanticism of Russian literature as a painting. This work was dedicated to the poetry of the poet Mikhail Lermontov and was used as an illustration. “Alone in the wild in the north / A pine tree stands on top of Bald Mountains …”

In the Forest of Countess Moldvinova, Peterhof, 1891year

In 1892, Shishkin, who was already an emeritus professor, was appointed director of the landscape painting studio attached to the Academy of Painting.

Koraberinaya Forest, 1898year

But six years later, Shishkin died in front of the easel. This is one of his later works, where Shishkin uses his favorite technique of cutting the treetops. This will make the forest feel more expansive and at the same time make the viewer feel closer to the trees.

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