Arkhip Kuindzhi “Moonlit Night on the Dnieper”

Russian landscape painter Arkhip Kuindzhi like many other artists studied at the Academy of Fine Arts. A strong influence on Arkhip Kuindzhi had a meeting with the main ideologists of the “Wanderers” Ivan Kramskoy and Ilya Repin.

Arkhip Kuindzhi initially joined the movement of the “Wanderers”, which had as one of their goals to reflect social problems in their paintings, but quickly moved away from them. Arkhip Kuindzhi felt closer to a more natural depiction of nature, with its complex interplay of light.

The break-up with the “Wanderers” Arkhip Kuindzhi confirmed with his work on a painting using a completely new technique. It was so new that Arkhip Kuindzhi opened the doors of his studio and invited the most influential individuals of the Russian society of the time: Turgenev, Kramskoy, Mendeleev. Indeed, the painting was amazing.

Kuindzhi putthe picture up for a mono show. That is the exhibition of one painting. He shut the windows because the best play of colors of the painting happened in artificial light. And the painting was a huge success. People were lining up to see it.

The painting amazed the viewers with its realistic moonlight reflected from the Dnieper. Some people spoke of some special paint, others – about a light bulb behind the picture, and even looked for it. But the realistic image of the moon coming out from behind the clouds and illuminating everything around was fascinating.

People stood in front of the painting for a long time and when they left they sometimes had tears in their eyes.

Arkhip Kuindzhi - Moonlit night on the Dnieper, oil on canvas (1880)

Moonlit night on the Dnieper, oil on canvas (1880)

Unfortunately, the Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich, who bought the painting, despite any warnings, took it with him or a trip around the world, from which the painting came back darkened as a result of being exposed to sea-salt air.

Vasily Polenov “Moscow Courtyard”

Multifaceted Russian artist Vasily Polenov was mostly known as a landscape painter. The most famous painting in the genre of urban landscape by the artist is “Moscow courtyard.”

The place itself which is depicted in the painting “Moscow courtyard” is one of the alleyways in the very center of Moscow – near the Arbat Street. In those years, the capital of Russia was in St. Petersburg.

Vasily Polenov created this painting literally out of the window of the room where he was staying. The painting is filled with lyrical, nostalgic notes.

The house, and the rickety barn, and children who playing around, and the wagon and the church in the background as part of the big world outside of this little world – everything came together in a slow cycle of life of a Moscow courtyard. And all of the space is filled with warm gentle sunlight. Like a picture from a childhood.

Vasily Polenov - Moscow courtyard, oil on canvas (1878)

Moscow courtyard, oil on canvas (1878)

Isaac Levitan “Evening. Golden Ples”

Of course, our list would not be complete without the painting of the remarkable Russian landscape painter Isaac Levitan.

Isaac Levitan - Evening. Golden Ples, oil on canvas (1889)

Evening. Golden Ples, oil on canvas (1889)

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