Ivan Shishkin is one of the most prominent Russian landscape painters. The landscape paintings he are not just popular, they became part of the everyday lives of people. In Russia, if you ask a random person on the street: “Could you, please, name any artist,” you are likely to get a short answer: “Shishkin”.
The most recognizable image, created by Ivan Shishkin, is a landscape painting “Morning in a Pine Forest” (the painting is presented in our other material; the link is at end of this article). This image was used on the wrapper of famous Russian candy “Club-footed Bear”, which have been produced since the end of the last century.
In his painting “Rye” Ivan Shishkin created the best representation of Russian nature.
Summer dusty dirt road in august the middle of a whole rich field of rye. Wide-branching pine trees. Far away – pine trees with already bare tops, and one is completely dry. There is probably lowland there with low water or even a spring. Even further the landscape is enlivened by birds. Their concentration makes you guessing – maybe there is a recently harvested field over there, from where they have just been scared away by a passerby.
Rye, oil on canvas (1878)
… It makes you want to go down that road accompanied by the singing of larks in the sky.
Among the Open Valley
“Among the open valley,
On a smooth hill,
Blooms and grows a tall oak
In its mighty beauty…”
A. Merzlyakov (song written in 1810, later became a folk song)
Ivan Shishkin creates a monumental image of a beautiful giant oak that overwhelms everything around it.
Among the open valley, oil on canvas (1883)
This oak can become a good illustration for the story about the oak in the epic novel by Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” (the book describes life in Russia during the Napoleonic wars: 1805-1812).
Ivan Shishkin in his painting “Mast-tree grove” instilled all of his experience, all his emotions. Monumental huge mast-pines, and under them – small pine-kids that just started their journey. And next to them – thin perches of the fence made by people. As if the artist is telling us that people are also children of the amazing Russian nature.
And all of them are lit by the warm sun, so that you can almost smell warm resinous pine aroma.
Mast-tree grove, oil on canvas (1898)
Landscape paintings by Ivan Shishkin very accurately reflect the character of Russian nature: Russian vastness, Russian expanse, the richness of Russian nature.