Russia • 1860−1900
Isaac Ilich Levitan (3 (16) October, according to other sources, 18 (30) August 1860, Kybartai Posad (now Kybartai, Lithuania) – July 22 (August 4) 1900, Moscow) – the master of "landscape of mood", one of the founders of the national Russian landscape.

Features of the artist Isaac Levitan. Lyrical landscapes by Levitan imbued with, on the one hand, subjective human experiences (the nature of "sorrow", "frowns", "peace", "rejoice", etc.), and on the other hand, the sharp sensation of the objective of Supreme harmony (why a human presence in the landscape becomes unnecessary and even redundant). Portraying with much feeling and truthfulness of all sweet and modest, nondescript and inconspicuous, simple, and in the great Russian nature, Levitan, according to Alexander Benoisbrought "in the callous realism of the life-giving spirit of poetry".

Famous paintings by Isaac Levitan: "Autumn day. Sokolniki", "Eternal rest", "Quiet abode", "At the pool","Vladimirka"

...Twice unsuccessfully they shoot, and once tried to hang himself. Could cry in the middle of the conversation. Or run away in the midst of the exhibition, to hide from human eyes. Left, leaving their studies, and without telling anyone, to hunt in the forest without food for a few days, was declared wanted as missing, and when he returned, he was arrested on the day in order to continue not fooled police head. Twice, as if in a recurring bad dream, despair and rage threw to the feet of the beloved (first one, then the second – both were long and well not married to him and some time for a heart condition Levitan competed) dead Seagull, personally shot. Suffered excruciating seizures depression. And died in less than 40 years from the expansion of the aorta.

But what all this has to do with his art? What do a biography of Levitan and his paintings? Life and painting are parallel universes! Do not touch the genius of the slippery paws, yellow venal scribblers! Would that explain or help to understand?!

Dare to say – it helps. Try to believe us, and we will try to explain.

Landscapes as a reflection of the personality and biography of Isaac Levitan

Exceptionally fine mental organization, suspiciousness and vulnerability, "naked nerves", the melancholic temperament with his usual keen intuitive perception – it is directly connected with a brilliant ability Levitan to see in a discreet and soft Russian nature that he could not see anybody.

"These poor villages, this meager nature..."– compiled in the nineteenth century, Tyutchev, one of my favorite poets Levitan. "I'll go down the Moody trail to remember the howling of the Blizzard"– depict the same reality in the twentieth century Scarring. "Where I was born, the primary color was grey"– sing in the XXI century Grebenshikov. For a long time it was believed that in Russia there can be a landscape worthy of the brush of the painter; the first pensioner of the Academy was driving behind a landscape in Italy, closer in time to the Levitan Shishkinand Polenov– in Germany, Switzerland, France.

Levitan started and ended the Russian landscape, it was his "alpha and omega", and he does not consider the Russian nature neither sullen nor poor. "The great Northern, without a murmur, joyless, semjase note of sadness landscape"as characterized by his contemporary Isaac Levitan, painter Leonid Pasternakthis landscape was prone to melancholy and sadness Levitan not only coherent and roads, but also beyond. Note, even art terminology applicable to Levitan, alludes to the melancholy: "tremulous smear," "nervous brush"...

Levitan went abroad three times, but to nature more vivid (as in France and Italy), or more solemnly dignified (as in the Swiss mountains) remain indifferent, weary, bored, and wrote a melancholy letter: "I can imagine how lovely we now have in Russia – the rivers had flooded, everything comes to life... there is No better country than Russia! Only in Russia can be a real landscape". Even more colorful in comparison with an average strip of Russia and the Crimea, the artist managed to miss. His Crimean sketchesinstantly sold out, and Levitan complained: "The scenery here (in Crimea – ed.) only first strikes, and after getting bored and really want to the North... I love the North more than ever... I just now realized it".

Here in the most unassuming motive "melancholic-barbitone" Levitan the power of his love opened "bottled in the nature of divine something". Shrill and loud, humble and modest Russian nature reflected in the work of Levitan in the higher poetry.

Keeping childhood Levitan?

Despite her amorous and response hot women of interest, Isaac Levitan was never officially married. The only woman that he once hastily and, it seems, all of a sudden not only for her but for himself made the proposal, was the younger sister Chekhova, Mariya Pavlovna. Nothing ever came of it. However, contrary to the typical situations for such scenario, Levitan and Maria for all his life remained close friends. But even she admitted: "Sam Isaac Ilyich never anything about family and childhood did not. Out, as if he were not the father nor the mother. Sometimes it seemed even that he wanted to forget about their existence. He said only that very badly off kid..."

The biography was worth the effort in General terms, to reconstruct the beginning of life Levitan.

He was born at the Western tip of the Russian Empire, at the train station Kybartai (now Lithuania) in an intelligent Jewish family. Levitan grandfather was a Rabbi, his father also graduated from rabbinical school, but continue to improve in Talmudic wisdom would not. Self-learning German and French, elyashiv (Elijah) Levitan worked as an inspector on the railway, a translator for the French company. They lived in poverty. Children in the family were four sons Abel(he later calls himself Adolf) and Isaac, daughters Teresa and Emma. The mother of the bass (Bertha) Levitan, avid knightcat, biographers say that instead of a hot dinner she could with gusto and passion to the children retell the contents of any seized her books.

Levitan's father in search of a better life with the impracticality of the future heroes of Chekhov dreamed "To Moscow, to Moscow!"and at the end of the 1860s the whole family with young children really took up residence in Moscow, but chemago well-being not found. Father taught French offspring of wealthy Jewish families. Not enough money already catastrophically, causing their own children by Ilya Levitan could not even attend school – in the evenings he tried to catch up.

The son of Abel showed some talent for drawing he was admitted to the Moscow school of painting, sculpture and architecture. Soon there did 13-year-old Isaac. According to some memoirs, it turns out that the special talent the father did not notice it: it was just handy when the sons are studying in one place and stick together. By the way, in the same way after a senior brother Sergei, which he will Excel, he entered the School and classmate of Levitan – Konstantin Korovin.

Live Levitan continued very poor, in a tiny rented apartment. Isaac was 15 when his mother died. And when he was 17, Elias and Isaac Levitan at the same time dumped the abdominal type. Frightened, compassionate neighbors brought the father and the son in a different hospital, back where it was destined only to Isaac, the father died. Over the next few years Levitan knows the humiliation of homelessness and lack of money, persecution on ethnic grounds and even hunger.

But why is it that he didn't want to remember about your parents?

Several years ago, the candidate of economic Sciences Mikhail Rogov found and published historical data, which suggests that Elijah and Bertha Levitan, who in 1860 was born the son of Abel, could not be parents born in 1860 the same year, just 5 months before Abel, Isaac. Isaac Levitan, according to the metrics, was the son of the brother of Elijah – Hackelia, but somehow was brought up in the family and bore the patronymic of his uncle. The reasons we don't know. This family secret died with fellow artists Levitan: Isaak told after his death to destroy all his correspondence, and survived him by 33 years Abel was terribly secretive.

The student was delayed in the biography of Levitan for more than 11 years

First, Isaac studied at the life class at the accuser-genre painter Vasily Perov but miraculously, a 14-year-old boy was considered a kindred spirit, the teacher of the neighboring landscape class Alexey Savrasov. He literally begged "to give," Levitan him. Perov at this time to resist was gone.

As soon as the spring was coming, Savrasov took students out of the dusty classes in forest Park or to the river. He could come to school with a willow branch and demand that colleagues evaluated a unique fine fragrance of the first green. And the students insisted on not copying, and observation. Some considered strange Savrasov and Levitan understood him perfectly. And if the teacher asked to answer noise in his picture of the oak or no noise, Levitan not only not surprised, but very soon began to understand how scenic resources to ensure that the oak rustled, birch was worried, and nature in General – lived, grieved and rejoiced.

Most Levitan sad in the years of his apprenticeship, alas, had more often. Orphaned and homeless, he sometimes for three days did not eat felt dizzy from the smell Sanogo bread, which is supported by comrades, and for several years wore a plaid jacket and short trousers, from which grew long. Mikhail Nesterov told me that Levitan "badly needed, he went to school a lot fantastic stories... have been Told that he sometimes had no sleep. There were times when Isaac Levitan after the evening classes disappear unnoticed, hiding in the top floor of the huge old house Yushkova, where, under Alexander I, was about the Freemasons, and later the house was embarrassed Moscow inhabitants "scary Ghost"".

The situation is slightly better, when Levitan received a scholarship of the Moscow Governor-General. But in 1879 the artist was waiting for another blow of fate – the Jews after the assassination of the Emperor was evicted from Moscow. 13 years later, in 1892, the same situation will be repeated in the biography of Levitan: it has already been a famous artist again asked "to leave in 24 hours", and only thanks to great public interest, he will be able to return. To feel like an outcast, a stranger Levitan was not used to.

Diploma "class artist" Isaac Levitan was not able to. His teacher Savrasov, the school showed less and less, he drank and could not stop. After "graduation" picture, Levitan, Savrasov long sought the taverns and flophouses, found almost in rags. Savrasov hungover drew on the back of his paintings with chalk "Big silver medal" (she would be eligible for the diploma). But the management of the school, this conclusion did not agree. Perhaps manifested itself in a growing hostility to Savrasovu Perova, or, according to Konstantin Paustovsky, "talented Jewish boy was annoying the other teachers. A Jew, in their opinion, were not supposed to touch the Russian landscape".

But a few years Levitan continued to attend classes at the school: after Savrasov teaching at the Moscow school of painting came Polenov, Vasily – a wonderful colorist and a very educated man, gave a lot to Levitan in terms of painting and wrote with him Christ for his paintings.

Adult life painter Levitan

On leaving school Levitan another, animal painter Alexey Stepanov settled in cheap rooms on Tverskaya street. A lot of them were tied up and apart from painting: a bleak childhood, an early encounter with poverty and a shared love of hunting. Levitan perfectly shot ducks and Zaitsev – Stepanov them again and wrote the first glory he will bring pictures "Moose"and "The cranes are flying". In the work of Levitan "Winter in the forest" Stepanov was "addicted" wolf. Rooms on Tverskaya owners called pretentious: hotel "England". The contrast really amused Chekhov. He joked that all that is written in this time Levitan's paintings then attributed to the "English period".

Money again is not enough, "moonlight", creating for sale swans and maloushina under the stars couples, Levitan could not. He gratefully remembered the first 100, which Pavel Tretyakov paid him for the picture "Autumn day. Sokolniki" but they quickly dispersed. Polenov "betrothed" their talented students Korovin and Levitan to write decorations for Private Opera Savva Mamontov. Paid "millionaire" generous, but Levitan was a born Illustrator, not a decorator, and in Mamontov's Abramtsevo for some reason he did not stick. However, the money earned from Sava, Levitan went to my first big creative journey to the Crimea. Seeing the sea for the first time, Levitan could not restrain his sobs, but the Crimea is very rapidly cooled. He was drawn to the North: in the suburban babkino, where he stayed with a family of Chekhovs, Savvina Sloboda near Zvenigorod, on the Volga.

In the early 1980-ies of the Czechs stayed with the landowners Kiselev in Babkine and Levitan rented a room in the neighboring village of Maksimovka. Czechs worried that Levitan longer appears, and with his brothers went to look for him. In the twilight they caught Levitan's lying on the bed. Surprise Levitan snatched and brought them to a hunting rifle, and the landlady whispered to Chekhov: he Isaac this morning I wanted to shoot. Chekhov, Levitan suspecting from the beginning of the mental illness and understanding that it should not be left alone, took care of him: invited to live with them in babkino, was looking for a job in Comedy magazines in which he worked. Chekhov for the first time brought Levitan to the salon Of Sofia Petrovna Kuvshinnikova.

"Tender eyes": love the whirlpools in the biography of Levitan

"Eyes Levitan was so delicate that the slightest falsehood or inaccuracy in the color it was unthinkable"– says the artist Boris Ioganson. Women interpreted "tender eyes Levitan" else: emotional and beautiful Levitan was extremely attractive to the opposite sex. His novels always were violent, accompanied by scandals and a failed duel.

The Chekhov biographer Donald Rayfield was disrupted with the biography of the writer, the Puritan veil of silence, and about Levitan says: "had hundreds of contacts with hundreds of women". Leaving the order of the numbers on the conscience of an Englishman, note that the longest relationship in my life Levitan was with artist and musician Sofia Petrovna Kuvshinnikova, this relationship lasted 8 years and in the reduced projection was described by Chekhov in "the Grasshopper". But the famous "Grasshopper" with her foolish and vain character, underestimated by her husband-doctor and lover, mediocre artist Ryabovsky, despite the coincidence of circumstances, is still fiction. The real story Levitan and Kuvshinnikova is the story of a friend.

Sofia Petrovna was older than Isaac by 13 years of age: when she was 39, he – 26, she was married to a doctor – the police doctor Dmitry Pavlovich Kuvshinnikov, known in the artistic environment, not only through the salon of his wife, gathered well-known writers, musicians and artists, but also because he Perov wrote huntsman-bouncer in the famous "The hunters at rest".

Dmitri Pavlovich was seriously devoted himself to work, his wife at this time, with the same passion given to the art: it is badly painted, even better played on a piano and all the time you invent something unusual outfits for yourself or setting for the house. "In Kuvshinnikova there was much that could please and inspire – wrote Olga Knipper Anton Chekhov. –The beauty is she did not stand out, but it was certainly interesting, original, talented, Poetica and graceful. It is possible to imagine why she was fond of Levitan". "It was not particularly beautiful but interesting in their talents, a woman – echoed the wife by Chekhov to his brother Michael, She was well dressed, being able of pieces to sew myself a nice toilet, and had the happy gift to give beauty and comfort to even the most dreary dwelling, like a barn. All of them in the apartment seemed luxurious and elegant, but meanwhile, instead of Turkish sofas were delivered soapboxes and they put mattresses under carpets. On the Windows instead of curtains were hung with simple fishing nets".

Sofia Petrovna asked Levitan to give her a few lessons, and so began their affair. As soon as there came warm days, all of 8 years Levitan and Sofia Petrovna went to the sketches in the suburbs, or under Tver on the Volga. Sofia Petrovna was as Levitan, passionate and selfless hunter. Before hunting, Isaac could week to disappear in the woods in the company only of his dog Vesta – came to Levitan by accident, but is surprisingly devoted to him (told me that Levitan learned his dog to count to ten and regularly fed, even when you haven't had lunch myself). They are now with Sofya Petrovna, dressed like men in pants and boots, climbed in the jungle, churned mud, watched snipe and black grouse, shot, dragged the heavy aghdasi with prey, and then with passion and even anger threw the game on the ground, considering who has to shoot more and not wanting each other to concede. The testimony of another reporter Chekhov – his sister, Maria Pavlovna, a frustrated bride Levitan, makes the picture complete: "You have no idea what's going on with S. P. (Sofya Petrovna – ed.)! A spoiled kind and generous husband, carefree and durable device life, where all obeyed her, she tames herself, patiently endure melancholy, irritation and rezkosti Levitan, just to give his restless, anxious soul a feeling of harmony and reliability. Rejoices when he sees that the world is again filled him with all the colors, and it entails a canvas, and he's smiling and soft. But human gossip of little interest to her".

In the presence of Sofia Petrovna Levitan less and less moping around: she was entertained by his hilarious stories about common acquaintances, were concerned that he froze and had no food on the sketches, inspired him with confidence in his enormous talent, which Levitan was lost and give up. Levitan's talent matured and strengthened. Pattern, written with the active participation of Sofia Petrovna, brought him his first notoriety. She was chosen by the Volzhskiy town of Plyos, where Leitao so worked well and where there are "Evening. Golden Plyos" and "Quiet abode." She went with Levitan on lake Udomlya, where he wrote the magnificent painting "eternal rest". They, along with Sophia Petrovna accidentally came across Vladimir tract, and while Levitan wrote "the Vladimirka road", Sophia in the cart drove "like an icon", heavy canvas from home to "plein air" and back.

Of the ball whether she is happy with Levitan – God knows, but her love and loyalty no doubt. Rayfield was the claims that Sofia Petrovna lasted so long with the artist, only because willingly turned a blind eye to it in parallel developing stories. In Plyos Levitan and Kuvshinnikova met a beautiful girl Anna Grosheva, languishing as Katerina from "the Storm" in a Patriarchal family, husband, believer. Sophia Petrovna, helped to organize the escape of Anna to Moscow, thinking that the soul is torn to freedom, while Grosheva were eager to Levitan. One summer, a guest at the estate of landowner panafidina, Levitan became interested in the other beautiful Lika Mizinova, which was going to make an offer of the Czechs. Letters Levitan teased that "the divine Face" "loves not you, the blond and me, location of volcanic brunette". That summer he wrote the famous painting "the Maelstrom", saying Kuvshinnikova: "everyone in life had their own pool." And Chekhov warned the Ranks: "You are destined to break the heart of poor Sappho."

But broke to Sofia Petrovna the heart of another woman – which, by the way, Leivtra also turned 39, Anna N. Turchaninov. That summer Levitan with Kuvshinnikova came to the sketches in the Tver province, their next-door neighbors were the family of a prominent St. Petersburg official Turchaninov – three adorable daughters at the age of brides and their mother, Anna Nikolaevna, who did not want to say goodbye to youth and beauty surpassing even the daughters.

Tatiana Shchepkina-Kupernik, managed to reconcile Levitan and Chekhov, few years not talking to each other after the "Grasshopper", reports: "the Rival of Sofia Petrovna, a beautiful. She looks like a Gypsy. Lipstick, she wears white and she smells so sweet and so hard that even the Cup from which she drinks the tea, smell the perfumes. She was terribly kind to everyone – especially to Sophia Petrovna. And all praises her sketches. But her eyes are evil. Not simply as Sofya Petrovna – and so evil. All I want to represent, are they other, when she caresses their children or praying? But maybe she's not praying?"

In the end, Levitan broke up with Sofia Petrovna, preferring Turchaninov. But not long happiness, nor even peace with a new lover not gained. One of the daughters of Anna Nikolaevna also fell in love with the artist. Their struggle with the mother for the heart Levitan was fierce and lasted until his death. For Levitan returned to the depression, he again shot himself.

Recent years in the biography of the artist

The Levitan worsened heart disease. I bet if it was congenital or acquired rheumatic myocarditis, but there is no doubt that the situation was aggravated by a nervous condition. "Why am I single? Why do women that were in my life, brought me peace and happiness? – suffered Levitan. Perhaps because even the best of them – the owners. They want all or nothing. I can't do that. All I can belong only to my homeless Muse, everything else is vanity of vanities... But, knowing this, I still strive for impossible, dream of the impossible..."

Meanwhile, professional success start to follow in the biography of Levitan, one after another. It is taken to the members in the Peredvizhniki movement, the painting "Quiet abode" proizvodit, in the words of Chekhov, sensation. Levitan often abroad – but it leads him to not only look for landscapes fresh nature and to get acquainted with the new trends in art, but also the need to be treated. Levitan was accepted to the Association of the "Munich Secession", played an important role in the development of art Nouveau. While abroad, he praises the German doctors and their miraculous baths, but complains about inability to work: "in fact, there is no nature, but a sort of impotence!" "What do I want here, in a foreign country, at the same time, as I am drawn to Russia and so painful I want to see melting snow, birch?"

Two years before the death of Leviathan, had not awarded the title of class artist, became an academician of painting and began to teach at the Moscow school of painting, sculpture and architecture, where he studied at the Savrasov and Polenov. He is a wonderful teacher: "Today going to Peter, worried, as the son of a bitch – my students make their debut on Mobile. More than me tremble! Though I despise the majority opinion, and creepy, dammit!" Levitan became friendly with the "World of art", it seemed to him that he only now begins to understand something important in jivopisi and much more capable. "Levitan, the expansion of the aorta, – fixes in the diary of the Czechs. Wears on his chest the clay. Excellent sketches and a passionate thirst for life."

Levitan died before the age of forty, in August, 1900 and was buried in Moscow at the Jewish cemetery at the Dorogomilovsky Outpost (in 1941, his tomb was moved to Novodevichie). According to legend, in the August when he died Levitan, miraculously, the second time this year bloomed lilacs, which the artist so loved.

Author: Anna Yesterday
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