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Painting, 1892, 79×123 cm

Description of the artwork «Vladimirka»

In the spring of 1893, the year a reporter for the St. Petersburg Gazette, by visiting the exhibition, broke abusive review: "The theme for the paintings is the nature of Russia. Selected the most unsightly, "gray" theme. What could be more boring "Vladimirci – high road", Levitan..."

But for the Russian society of the turn of XIX-XX centuries "vladimirka" (or, as it is written in the corner of the painting hand Levitan, "Volodimirka") has become one of the major artistic document of the epoch. As "The Appian way at sunset"Alexander Ivanov summed up the history of the Roman Empire, and the road, written by Levitan, seemed to many revolutionary-minded minds a sort of deferred sentence other empires – Russian.

An unexpected discovery

The 1892-the year of Isaac Levitan and Sophia Kuvshinnikovaspent their "study period" in the estate Sochneva Town, near the "Pushkinskaya" station Boldino of the Nizhny Novgorod railway. It was already the sixth year, as they were together, and every summer was marked by the obligatory expedition to the places of Central Russia, so beloved by Levitan, where you could expect to find relatively unknown nature for landscapes. From Levitan and Sofia Petrovna has a special way of nomadic life she, with her characteristic ability to turn the beauty of trivial objects, comfort, cared to in the early chilly mornings Levitan was warmly dressed, climbed with him to the remotest corners of the forest. When both felt that the work was fed up the Ukrainian consumer them, they reminisced about another, in addition to the art that brings them passion – hunting. Both he and she were avid, passionate hunters. Levitan was able to spend with a dog and a gun for several days without food in the woods, and Sofia Petrovna, with a chic who wore pants and hunting boots, in endurance even surpassed Levitan. Returning exhausted after a hunting marathon, where they were transformed from allies to rivals, Levitan and Kuvshinnikova silently shook aghdasi and considered prey.

One of pozdnyakovsky days Levitan and Sofia Petrovna again went hunting. Albums the used – all that remained of the house: they were going to shoot, and the draw was not in their plans. Wandering a few hours in an unfamiliar forest, Levitan and Kuvshinnikova finally came out of him and came across not familiar to them.

The day was warm, stuffy, sunless and it was already late in the evening. On a huge open plain with fleeing forward trodden ruts of the road looming gray sky in color and pattern which was difficult to judge whether today will pour the rain, or for a brief moment clears up before sunset. Looming over the road, the silence seemed ringing. Low shrubs and thickets took your eyes off into the distance. The travelers came to the roadside "cabbage" – shot down unknown and no one knows when the wooden post with the "house", hiding under its vaults the paper icon. From time it faded and satrapies, and bogomolca in black, walking in front of the artists, did not stop, but only quickly prekratilis and papilla down the road.

Levitan and Kuvshinnikova reached pochivshego "cabbage" and sat down to rest. And then it dawned on the artist – Yes this is the legendary vladimirka! The cursed path a lot of decades, drove the convicts to stage in Siberia!

From concept to completion

When the painting has become legendary (and many contemporaries Levitan's "Vladimirka road" was called as the main picture, "uchityvaya" socially-accusatory and almost revolutionary overtones), many critics and audience tried to reflect on how I felt and what I was thinking at the time of his unexpected insight Levitan. Maybe he saw exhausted people, it is hard walking in the Vladimir highway under the mercilessly scorching sun? I heard the chains clink, swearing gendarmes and the groans of the unfortunate? Introduced as at this very rotten "cabbage" they were allowed a short respite dolgozhdannyy?

Biographers interested in even such a seemingly small thing – and whether Levitan opportunity immediately, right in the same day and hour, to fix the road and your impression of her?

"Isaac Ilyich took out a pencil– trying to present this writer Ivan Evdokimov, – the paper is not found in the pockets neither Levitan nor Kuvshinnikova.
– Is removed from the Chuck and smooth – seriously said Isaac Ilyich. – I think I made wads out of pure scraps.
Sofia Petrovna laughed, thought beamed and reached into her purse with supplies. There was in the oblong box ladies perfumed handkerchief. Levitan gently and gratefully looked at quick-witted friend. Two stacked together with Aggtelek hen and ducks Isaac Ilyich laid the handkerchief Close to his held it at the ends, and pencil quickly sketched the silhouette of a cabbage".

Levitan began to rush friend: as soon as possible to find your way back and try to go to bed early, and tomorrow early in the morning he would be at this place with a sketchbookand paper.

"Vladimirka" Levitan wrote quickly, it took only a few sessions. They Sofya Petrovna alternately dragged heavy sized canvas and easel from the Town of Vladimir of the tract and set it near the "cabbage rolls". Levitan did not write the figures of the convicts – he didn't have to compete with repinskii "haulers". Range of emotions from quiet sadness to deep sorrow at Levitan expressed through the twilight of the afternoon landscape, using almost monochromatic, exquisitely-miser palette with subtle color changes, through the desolate and achingly dreary gray highway, the current into the unknown, through stretching towards the viewer clouds, creating an interesting effect return movement.

According to legend, writing "the Vladimirka road", Isaac Levitan liked to sing the "Evening bells" by Ivan Kozlov.

As "vladimirka" appeared in the Tretyakov gallery, Tretyakov involuntarily

And yet, despite the glory of the "most social" of the painting Levitan's "vladimirka" was not a political Manifesto. Probably he would agree with Chekhov, who wrote: "We rot in the prisons of millions of people rot in vain, without thinking, barbarously; we drove people in the cold in shackles tens of thousands of miles, infected with syphilis, have multiplied criminals, and all this dumped on red-nosed prison wardens to blame... not the Rangers, and all of us, but we do not have to care, not interested". But by temperament and nature gifts Levitan was a writer, he was a landscape painter par excellence. "It was something soft, and perhaps sentimental, thanks for making sense of the word– the astute will say about Levitan after his death, Sergei Diaghilev, – a fighter, stubborn Pro-driver "ideas" he could never be this particular differed sharply from the artistic community, with which he was connected nearly all his life and which so often and painfully insulted his sensitive nature".

Moscow writer Ivan Belousov (1863-1930) told me that the sketch for the "Vladimirka" Levitan presented a younger brother of Anton Chekhov, Mikhail Pavlovich. He just studied at the law faculty, and Levitan, in the spirit adopted between him and the Chekhov family irony and namestnichestva as mentioned Michael: that's just the way you are, mister, you send people, if will be the Prosecutor. However, in the 1890-ies of the vladimirka road has ceased to be a Cycling stage: prisoners now dovozili to Siberia by railway, but Russia has not ceased to be a country with acute social contradictions and alienation of power from the people.

For this reason, "the Vladimirka road" even refused to buy Tretyakovalthough for several years he sought to acquire all significant works of Levitan. By the time Pavel handed his gallery into the possession of the city, and frankly, accusatory pathos, which was easy to attribute the "Vladimirka road", embarrassed him: didn't want to bring their offspring into trouble from the powers that be. Then Levitan "go for broke" – he gave a picture of the Tretyakov gallery. On 11 March 1894 he sent a letter to Tretyakov: "The vladimirka road, probably will be back, and you take it and calm it and me and her". To refuse Tretyakov could not.

Author: Anna Yesterday
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Landscape

Style of art: Realism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1892

Size: 79×123 cm

Artwork in selections: 35 selections

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