Quiet and calm artist Vasily Polenov amazed his contemporaries with the versatility of his talent. After traveling around Europe he created a series of paintings in a medieval style, his journey to the Middle East gave birth to a series of paintings united by biblical scenes. Vasily Polenov also studied graphic arts, crafts and architecture, theater and music.
After some experimenting, Vasily Polenov focused on landscape painting as the main direction of his creative work. And here Polenov demonstrated his “absolute vision” which allowed him to accurately depict landscapes.
The most striking paintings are created by Polenov lyrical landscapes of Russian nature that excite their viewers. We have selected for you the best landscape paintings by Vasily Polenov.
“I think that art is meant to give happiness and joy, or it is worth nothing.”
The painting shows an example of an urban landscape by Polenov, yet not an ordinary landscape, but a landscape-mood.
An old, beat-up house. A forgotten, overgrown garden. A mature woman arm in arm with a young one –a grandmother with her granddaughter.
Now we can’t distinguish, but a grandmother is in outdated clothes for those days, and her granddaughter – in ultra-modern.
New plants in the garden, a grandmother and a young granddaughter. It’s old and new, in nature, in people. An old manor estate will soon give way to a new bourgeois century. New replaces the old. It’s a little sad, but this is an endless cycle of life.
Grandmother’s garden, oil on canvas (1879)
It is interesting that the same estate but from a different perspective is depicted in the most famous landscape painting by Vasily Polenov “Moscow courtyard” (the link is at the bottom of the page), but with a completely different mood!
A landscape-mood by Vasily Polenov “Overgrown pond” is filled with serenity, tranquility and peace of summery Russian nature.
The painting, created over a century ago, still brings back fantasy-memories, as if it happened in the childhood. Early in the morning someone is definitely fishing from footbridges and pulling out huge carp. Then the kids from the nearby village come in and bathe to the left of the footbridges (as evidenced by a trampled track on the side of the bridges). In the afternoon the lady from a nearby country house comes to wait out the heat by the water in the shade with a book and her dreams. And at night, unearthly lights get lit and weaving into their hair water lilies, mermaids dance in the pond.
Overgrown pond, oil on canvas (1879)
Vasily Polenov wrote this landscape-mood in the village of Byokhovo. Then the landscape painter moved to the estate, which today is called “Polenovo.” These places are located on the Oka River, near Moscow.
The first snow that has fallen on the ground. The earth has already cooled and is covered with snow. But the trees are still in golden tones of the leaves that didn’t have time to fall yet. Snow hides the sounds. There has already been some light frost which began covering the river at night, before the snowfall. Clouds herald the bad weather that is coming, but so far everything is quiet and peaceful. But soon, soon everything will be covered with snow – until the spring.
Early snow, oil on canvas, (1891)
In a two-hour drive from Moscow there is “Polenovo” estate where you can immerse yourself in an atmosphere in which the famous landscape painter worked and see many of the places that have appeared in the paintings of Vasily Polenov.
To discover Russia with Alexey Gureev