Birch grove

Arkhip Kuindzhi • Painting, 1879, 97×181 cm
About the artwork
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Landscape
Style of art: Impressionism, Realism
Technique: Oil
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: 1879
Size: 97×181 cm
Artwork in selections: 104 selections
Exhibitions history
Arkhip Kuindzhi
October 6, 2018 − February 17, 2019
State Tretyakov gallery, Lavrushinsky lane, 10

Description of the artwork «Birch grove»

In 1880 Kuindzhi Arkhip officially seceded from the society of Peredvizhniki. This break has affected him positively in the early 80s, the artist painted pictures that made him truly famous. Freed from the oppression of any ideology, he returned to where he started: bright, joyful colors, the sunlight, the enthusiastic admiration of the beauty of nature - everything that was considered at the Wanderers almost in bad taste. He remained an ardent supporter of realism. But the realism that was a different kind. Journalist Alexei Suvorin wrote: "Let ultrasaline critics argue that the artist is obliged to write what everyone and always in front of you, what each entails in darkness, fog, in sadness, in mud, in a swamp. It Petersburg, when done realism, who grew up in the office among political turmoil, misunderstandings, hatred, hatred... But really artistic, but richly gifted talent will go their own way... So did Kuindzhi".

In 1881-m Arkhip Kuindzhi presented to the public written two years earlier "Birch grove". This again was monofilame, Kuindzhi again used artificial lighting – he clearly hoped to repeat the incredible success of his "Moonlit night on the Dnieper". Full sensation this time it did not work: "a competent Petersburg" is not pushed in kilometer-long queues, the poets were not dedicated to "the Grove" shrill strings, and musicians did not try to shift it to stave. According to some biographers, therefore, disappointed Kuinji soon after "Groves" disappeared and did not put his new works almost 20 years.

However, in professional circles, the painting created a furor.

Sharp, almost stereoscopic contrast and the weightless dance of the sun on the blazing barrels, filigree work with light and shadow and diffuse in the air, almost epic poetry – Kuindzhi-realist met with Kuindzhi-impressionist. And clearly losing the fight.

"We have, however, formed a school of impressionism, theoretical views of this school, not only has not arisen by themselves, but not even accidentally wandered from France– wrote art critic Vladimir Chuiko. – Meanwhile, we have something, and it was the artist who immediately, instinctively, and almost perfectly realized all the dreams of the Impressionists".

"Birch grove" has become a new genre milestone and triggered an avalanche of imitators – including, among the recognized masters of the held. For example, one prominent "sun-worshipers" - Vladimir Orlovsky – Repin complained that he had serious mental anguish, trying to uncover the "mystery coingested of colors". Talk about "Birch grove" for a long time did not cease after Kuindzhi "left the scene". And certain other spoke Ivan Ivanovich Shishkin that with his usual eloquence summed up: "This is not a picture but her picture you can write".

Author: Andrew Zimoglyadov