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Moscow courtyard

Painting, 1878, 64.5×80.1 cm

Description of the artwork «Moscow courtyard»

"Moscow yard" the most famous of the paintings of Vasily Polenov. Idyllic views of old Moscow, where slender architectural beauty of churches is adjacent to the Patriarchal everyday life, belfry peacefully coexists with a rickety barn, and all the images – the two-storey mansion with an Empire facade and metal drain pipes, fun green lawn in the backyard, cutting its path is pulled waiting for the master of the horse, the hasty female figure with a bucket in hand, busily stepping chickens, well, suckers under the fence and linen on the ropes, the roof in the background and randomly growing without the intervention of the gardener the trees, children playing and desperately crying baby, does not violate the General benevolent mood, the birds in the sky and rare clouds are all immersed in a single sunlit air. Bright plein-air painting, so different from the modern Polenov genre painting of the Peredvizhniki makes to talk about "a Moscow courtyard" as the first photoimpressionism painting in Russian art.

"Moscow courtyard" was born almost by accident and in spite of circumstances


Perhaps most surprisingly in the history of the "Moscow courtyard" that wrote it not the Muscovite, and the man who and Moscow then still didn't actually know. Polenov was born in St. Petersburg, where he studied parallel at the Academy of arts and the faculty of law at University, then spent 4 years living abroad, and the most authoritative in the then Russian art critic Vladimir Stasov tried to convince solo "Moscow You exactly on what is not needed, just like and all Russia. You have you no Russian, is not only historic, but not even ethnographic. I think your best bet is to live permanently in Paris or Germany".

But what really brought Vasily Dmitrievich in Moscow?

Logs long sought their own way in art. He graduated from the Academy as a historical painter his father, historian and archaeologist, idolized Alexander Ivanov and would like to see in the son his successor, and his mother, a student Karl Briullov that's been on Basil in letters: "Not razmenivat yourself on trifles write, blessed, big picture". The parents were waiting for him to do something academic and ambitious. The landscape then is not perceived as an equal artistic genre, and Polenov was a little ashamed of his internal inclination to the landscape. And therefore decided to take up a great historical picture of "Tonsure unfit Princess". The story intrigue borrowed from Russian history: when Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich died wife Maria Miloslavskaya, was declared the show of beautiful boyar daughters – who are all more suited to the role of the new Queen. At the instigation of the boyars (apparently, the Naryshkins), the most handsome contestant was "out of order": the nurse who cleans the damsel before the final bride, squeezing her head with a headdress that she fainted and was recognized as tainted. The king is married to Natalia Naryshkina (she will give birth to future Emperor Peter I), but the "unsuitable" bride, as usual, got rid of the monastery.

Here for this picture (which reached us only a name not preserved even a sketch) and it took Polenov Moscow. He had a lot of days spent for sketches of cathedrals and towers of Moscow Kremlin (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) and housing found near the Arbat. Apartment in Trubnikovsky lane first appeared to him to be gloomy and uncomfortable. Polenov had intended to leave, but at the last moment I looked out the window and saw a courtyard with outbuildings and dome a bit further and left. "This house no longer, the artist wrote later. – He was on the corner Durnovskaya Trubnikovskij lane and I went apartment hunting, I saw a note on the door and went to look, and right out of the box I had this view. I immediately sat down and wrote it".

Experts specify: then, in 1877, the year, Polenov wrote is not the picture that has become so famous, and sketch in a vertical format in a slightly different way and with less radiant color. And in the "Moscow courtyard", which we know now, he returned almost a year later, in March 1878 th, after returning from the Russo-Turkish war. The theater of war Polenov personally caused the great Prince and future Emperor Alexander III. War logs will bring rewards – medal and gold cross, but not paintings. But proud of the attention of the Imperial family was waiting for Polenov paintings about the prowess of the Russian arms. And each Repin scolded him for being proud of (so it seemed one Repin) proximity to the autocrat, and that did not bring sketches of military action. But all these other people's demands and aspirations don't coincide with the internal mindset Polenov. He felt a calling to the landscape. Returning to the same apartment in Moscow, Polenov put on an easel his last year's study. Expanded the composition, added the figures, but most importantly, filled their landscape-genre painting, his "Moscow courtyard" in such a light, such a real sense of summer air and the immediacy of happiness, which is now transferred to the visitors of the Tretyakov gallery. "I think that art should give happiness and joy, otherwise it's not worth anything"- was convinced the logs.

Interesting facts about "Moscow courtyard" Polenov


• "Moscow courtyard" artist debuted at the traveling exhibition of 1878. The picture was an unexpectedly large success with the public and was immediately purchased Tretyakov.

• "Moscow courtyard" replicated on stamps and postcards, he became a kind of emblem of Moscow, but the logs did not immediately realized that he had created a masterpiece. In the letter Kramskoy he seemed to be apologizing for your picture: "Unfortunately, I haven't had time to do more significant things, and I wanted to be on a traveling exhibition with something decent. I hope in the future to earn the lost art of time".

• Polenov is considered one of the best colorists of his era, he first refused prevailed in Russian art brown tones in favor of pure and bright colors. In "a Moscow courtyard" his mastery of color is evident, for example, in the writing of the roof: Polenov deliberately makes them light blue with a green tint, thus creating a subtle and smooth transition from green foreground to blue sky.

• Boy or girl portrayed the logs in the foreground? The question causes confusion. In-depth biography of the artist, written by mark Copiarum, we find this description of the painting "Moscow yard": "In the foreground Svetlogorye boy messing with something that he holds in his hands. The other, younger, sitting on the grass, roaring with all his might". On the website of the Tretyakov gallery read: "With the same tenderness stops the view of the artist on the rim daisies, the Golden head of the girl and the shining cupola of the Church...".

• The Church of the Savior on the Sands (aka the Church of the Transfiguration on the Arbat) from the picture Polenov "Moscow courtyard" is still preserved until our days and is now an active Church. In the Soviet years, starting in 1956 and continued nearly forty years in the Church there was a puppet branch of the Studio "Soyuzmultfilm", so the cartoon Cheburashka and Shapoklyak old Woman came out of the same walls that once inspired artist Polenov.

• Lived in France and yearned for the Russian writer Ivan Turgenev, with whom wood met during a foreign pensionerstva, the artist wrote another option "Moscow courtyard", in composition close to the sketch 1877.

Author: Anna Rfcdasnaa
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Landscape

Style of art: Impressionism, Realism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1878

Size: 64.5×80.1 cm

Artwork in selections: 103 selections

Exhibitions history