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In the Crimean mountains

Painting, 1873, 116×90 cm

Description of the artwork «In the Crimean mountains»

"In the Crimean mountains" – the last work of Fyodor Vasilyev, "brilliant young men", one of the biggest Russian landscape painters of the nineteenth century. In the same 1873, year when were put on the finishing touches, completing the swirling twilight sky in the picture, the 23-year-old artist will die.

Crimea Fedor Vasilyev: from hate to love

In the Crimea the brilliant St. Petersburg-Fyodor Vasilyev got forced. In the capital he already was early, but a loud and well-deserved fame, he was loved at court, was appreciated in the artistic circles, his paintings cost a lot of money. The future has drawn young, but extremely gifted and able-bodied "varmint" (as he called himself) is beautiful and infinitely attractive. And suddenly, like a death sentence – a fatal diagnosis: tuberculosis of the throat. Hope for healing is weak, but it is: you need to change the climate. From foggy and chilly (albeit beloved – witness of wonderful, almost impressionistic sketches "After the rain. Spring in St. Petersburg", "Illumination in St. Petersburg", "Dawn in St. Petersburg") Of St. Petersburg, you must go to the warm Crimea.

Vasiliev's mother and little brother settled in a rented apartment in Yalta. Crimea oppresses him not only a fatal inability to get out of here, but calling the brightness, the splendor of nature, and most importantly, the fact that the realities of the Crimean does not like them your favorite, low-key and modest nature of Central Russia. The first time Vasiliev even the Crimean sketches not want to do – goes through his old sketches and writes in the memory the magnificent Wet meadow picture-a memory of poeticized them Srednerussky swamp. "If You knew even half of how hard it is to live in this damned anniversary." – breaks out from him in a letter to a friend Kramskoy.

Even a visit of the famous Aivazovsky many years ago voluntarily left the capital to live in his native Crimea, causing Vasiliev attack epistolary sarcasm: "Take me now flies, heat and lovers of fine arts he says archaeology. – There was even the retinue G. Aivazovsky and said, among other good tips, recipe colors, with the help of which the best manner possible to represent the Black sea; however, everyone without exception was pleased with the Suite, too, although she's entourage, prefer around lunch or at least a snack..."

But little by little the Crimea ceases to cause Vasiliev irritation. He now can sit for hours in the surf, trying to examine the Seating of the waves on the shore "laws of physics" and to sketch their "science". Changing the tone of his letter to Kramskoy, sarcasm is replaced by a lyrics disgust – friendliness: "The mountains were a warm pinkish tone, and far away ago from his previous place, sasanishiki thick veil of fragrant spring air, filled with mist. The sky is wonderful a blue tone, which has not been seen in the North: it is so deep and soft..."

In the last year of his life is a turning point. The disease Vasiliev makes it all the more urgent to suffer alone, there are times when he isn't even allowed to walk through the rooms, forbidden to speak, so as not to burden the throat of the artist is to write "in a conversational notebooks" (like when someone is deaf, Beethoven). When it becomes easier, Vassiljev in the mountains, he is sketching the rocky slopes, admiring the unexpected cliffs and boulders, dangerously hanging over the mountain trails. In moments of almost hopeless despair, he opens a new Crimea. "Instead of the main entrance, elegant and smiling Crimea, pink-brown mountains and azure sky Vasiliev suddenly saw and felt the harsh and cold kamenistoe sorrow mountain scenery... says the biographer of an artist Alexei Fedorov-Davydov. – But in this pessimistic aspect Vasiliev for the first time felt and individually experienced a new nature".

Falling up: how to watch painting "In the Crimean mountains"

The landscape, which is weakened by illness Vasiliev, straining his last strength, sought as soon as possible to graduate to the next competition of the Society for the encouragement of arts, called "Crimean mountains". He summarizes the impressions of the artist from the Crimea and are now perceived as a kind of spiritual Testament.

"In the Crimean mountains" sounds pathetic and solemn picture later will be compared to a Symphony.

The space is specifically organized Vasiliev so that the viewer can not a glance everything that is in the picture. In the correspondence, they had a long argument with Kramskoy: senior comrade believed that this construction is wrong: in the classic song eye of the viewer does not have to "stumble", as in the painting "In the Crimean mountains" sight involuntarily rested in pulled by oxen, a cart (she at first seemed superfluous archaeology). Vasilyev Kramskoy criticized for being too big turn vertically, he finds it unnatural that violate the visual credibility: "The farther, the more a viewer knows what to do with himself. It is too unusual that he is shown, he doesn't want to follow You, he rests, but some force pulls him farther and farther, and finally he just enchanted, loses the will to resist, and quite humbly stand under the pine trees, listening to some noise in the sky overhead, then descends like a lunatic, over the hill, it seems, is already near the forest that's in front of him; comes and there, but as well there, on the mountain, flat, harsh, silent, so spacious; the shadows, hardly marked by the sun through the clouds, mystical effect on the soul, so he was tired, his legs barely move, and he goes farther and farther, and finally enters into the region of clouds, damp, maybe cold; then he is lost, does not see the road, and he can climb to heaven, but that's for sometime after, the top picture he can only gasp".

However, Vasilyev, well aware of all objections and the reasons Kramskoy, builds a picture of exactly what he thinks is right for himself – he called this construction "picture up". The viewer really cannot grasp at one glance the whole space "In the Crimean mountains" and forced, obedient to the artist, to move the view from the dusty road to Arba (here will be a necessary pause to consider dismounted Tartar, wanting to alleviate the plight of their horses), from carts, to the hill, and then uphill, to the tops of the pine trees and the sky.

Let's not forget that it was the last picture tormented with tuberculosis, lack of money and the moral torments of the artist, and so kind of his will. The last argument Vasiliev of the painting is credited with painting an almost Messianic role to fix human nature. "If to paint a picture consisting of one of this blue air and mountains and pass it the way it is in nature, - says Vasilyev, - then, I'm sure criminal intent of a person looking at this picture, full of grace and endless celebrations and purity of nature, will be deferred and will appear in all its ugly nakedness".

The secret of painting "In the Crimean mountains"

But what Vasiliev might at least partly agree with archaeology is the question of the choice of colour. Kramskoy asserted: "The closer to the truth, the invisible paint". Vasilyev not looking in the landscape "Crimean exotics", flashy colors, on the contrary, he deliberately "discolor" range, makes the picture is almost monochrome, it builds on the subtle transitions of green, purple and brown. And the degree of haze, fog, like a thin muslin, over the mountains, so could the artist that Kramskoy even thought for a moment, "that painting of something hung".

Vasilyev admitted that due to illness whether or premonitions of imminent death, he encountered the unusual phenomenon of the psyche: "I have to outrageous develops a sense of individual tones, which I sometimes get scared. This is understandable: where I can clearly see the tone, anything other can not see, or will see a gray or black spot. The same happens in music: a musician and sometimes to such a degree has developed my ear that his motives seem monotonous to others..."

At the competition of the Society to promote artists painting "In the Crimean mountains" won first prize, it was bought by the brother of Pavel Tretyakov, Sergei Mikhailovich. Now "In the Crimean mountains", one of the best pictures by Fyodor Vasilyev, stored in the Tretyakov gallery.

Author: Anna Yesterday
I like38 To the selection28
About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Landscape

Style of art: Realism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1873

Size: 116×90 cm

Artwork in selections: 28 selections