Ivan Shishkin – Tretyakov Gallery. The Forest Horizons/Лесные горизонты (1884)
Materials:? Dimensions: 112.8 x 164 cm. Nr.: ? Source: http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/ivan-shishkin/the-forest-horizons-1884
The painting is dedicated to nature in the Urals. The artist has chosen a perspective from on high, striving to depict not so much a specific place as to create an image of the country as a whole. Space is built up in precise planes which draw the regard of the viewer into the distance, to the silvery lake in the centre of the composition. The groups of trees merge and flow from one into another like waves on the sea. For Shishkin the forest is a primary element of the universe, like the sea and the sky, but at the same time it is the national symbol of Russia. One critic wrote about this painting: “The distant perspective of the forests, covered in a light mist, and rising in the distance over the surface of the water, the sky, the air – in a word, the entire panorama of Russian nature with its beauty that is so very striking, – all of this is depicted on the canvas with amazing mastery.” In this work the artist resorted to the methods of plein air. The epic image of nature is in no way diminished by the mild and free painterly manner. The painting was done at a time when the artist began to be interested in the problems of plein air. While preserving the epic image of nature, Shishkin’s painting became milder and freer (http://www.tretyakovgallery.ru/en/collection/_show/image/_id/226#).