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Shishkin became a classic during his lifetime. But textbook fame sometimes does not allow the viewer to truly meet with the artist. Consciousness, in this case, helpfully slips a kind of soulless “our everything”, about which everyone knows, everyone has seen, but did not try to peer. We would like to remove this plaque of gilding from the image of Ivan Shishkin, who was a loving, impetuous, sometimes awkward and touching man.

Often Shishkin in reproach put excessive naturalism of his paintings, they say, this is a picture of some kind, not art. Loyalty to nature, Ivan Ivanovich really considered the most important property of the landscape
The development of the genre from antiquity to the present day: how did religion and the invention of oil painting contribute to the development of the genre in Europe, and why was the Hudson River so important? Lire la suite
. However, everything is not so clear with the interpretation of his paintings, and funny stories happened. Once Shishkin worked on nature, finished a sketch
A study is an exercise painting that helps the painter better understand the object he or she paints. It is simple and clear, like sample letters in a school student’s copybook. Rough and ready, not detailed, with every stroke being to the point, a study is a proven method of touching the world and making a catalogue of it. However, in art history, the status of the study is vague and open to interpretation. Despite its auxiliary role, a study is sometimes viewed as something far more significant than the finished piece. Then, within an impressive frame, it is placed on a museum wall.
So, when does a study remain a mere drill, and when can we call it an artwork in its own right, full of life and having artistic value? Lire la suite
of a pine forest, put the finishing touches and was very pleased with the result: a sketch
A study is an exercise painting that helps the painter better understand the object he or she paints. It is simple and clear, like sample letters in a school student’s copybook. Rough and ready, not detailed, with every stroke being to the point, a study is a proven method of touching the world and making a catalogue of it. However, in art history, the status of the study is vague and open to interpretation. Despite its auxiliary role, a study is sometimes viewed as something far more significant than the finished piece. Then, within an impressive frame, it is placed on a museum wall.
So, when does a study remain a mere drill, and when can we call it an artwork in its own right, full of life and having artistic value? Lire la suite
with protocol accuracy reproduced the landscape
The development of the genre from antiquity to the present day: how did religion and the invention of oil painting contribute to the development of the genre in Europe, and why was the Hudson River so important? Lire la suite
. The tops of the trees carried away upward, the unsteady thick air of forest thicket, the dense, scaly bark of the trunks. It seems, peering, it is possible to identify each needle.

A local peasant woman came up to Shishkin, looked at the creation of his hands for a long time, and sighed heavily. The artist asked if she liked the picture, the woman nodded hotly, where, they say, better, even as you like! “What is depicted here?” - Shishkin asked. I received an instant response: "It must be the Holy Sepulcher." Seeing the strange gentleman's expression on his face, which seemed to have missed, the peasant rushed to console him: "Did not guess? Well, wait a minute, I'll send the son of Vasiutka, he is literate - he will quickly solve ".
Ivan Shishkin. Devant le miroir. Lire une lettre
Devant le miroir. Lire une lettre
1870, 58×39 cm

Love for nature was not the only strong feeling in Shishkin's life. It is known about the two wives of the artist, both died early, leaving deep wounds in his soul. In both cases, dear Yelabuga helped to return to life. And there was also a love story connected with Elabuga. In one of his recent visits to his small homeland, Shishkin was carried away by a local young woman. The passion was mutual, the woman bore him a child, but neither official marriage nor recognition of the child followed. Lev Anisov in the biography of the artist, written for the series ZZZL, mentions this fact, but the trace of that woman, as well as the child, was lost.
Ivan Shishkin. Deadwood. Belovezhskaya Pushcha
Deadwood. Belovezhskaya Pushcha
1892, 28.4×43.4 cm

Shishkin did not like official events, long speeches and all sorts of meetings. The very thought of putting on a coat, listening and giving speeches, giving courteous obeisances was disgusting to him ... However, sometimes this could not be avoided. At the XX Mobile Exhibition, personal acquaintance of Ivan Shishkin with Emperor Alexander III took place. The artist exhibited at that time "Summer day"and one of the many images of pine forest. The sovereign unambiguously expressed a desire to see the famous author of forest landscapes. So the hated coat had to be rented. In the memoirs of Jacob Minchenkov we read about this meeting:

- So are you a landscape
The development of the genre from antiquity to the present day: how did religion and the invention of oil painting contribute to the development of the genre in Europe, and why was the Hudson River so important? Lire la suite
painter Shishkin? - asked the king.

He shook his beard, silently agreeing that he is truly a landscape
The development of the genre from antiquity to the present day: how did religion and the invention of oil painting contribute to the development of the genre in Europe, and why was the Hudson River so important? Lire la suite
painter Shishkin. The king praised him for his work and wished Ivan Ivanovich to go to Belovezhskaya Pushchaand wrote there a real forest, which he could not see here. Shishkin and this had to shake his beard in agreement.

Tsar was carried out, Ivan Ivanovich went to the mirror, looked at his figure, spat, threw off his coat and went home without him, in a fur coat.

The trip took place, but Shishkin wasn’t able to experience the solitude and fusion with nature so valued by him at that time. A carriage was expelled from the royal hunting palace, they were coddled with the artist, as if with a small child, which annoyed him too much. He could not step to step in order not to stumble upon the ingratiating "wherever you like" and "what are you willing." One day, Shishkin climbed into the forest thicket, hoping to take a break from the annoying courtings of the courtiers and work hard. Instead of the courtiers, the forest steward arrived in time, looked at the sketch
A study is an exercise painting that helps the painter better understand the object he or she paints. It is simple and clear, like sample letters in a school student’s copybook. Rough and ready, not detailed, with every stroke being to the point, a study is a proven method of touching the world and making a catalogue of it. However, in art history, the status of the study is vague and open to interpretation. Despite its auxiliary role, a study is sometimes viewed as something far more significant than the finished piece. Then, within an impressive frame, it is placed on a museum wall.
So, when does a study remain a mere drill, and when can we call it an artwork in its own right, full of life and having artistic value? Lire la suite
, and in the foreground was a semi-dry tree. He hesitated, hesitated and asked to erase this tree. Shishkin was surprised, and the manager explained: "After all, you are taking a picture to Petersburg, and there they will look and say:" Well, the manager is good - he brought the forest to the point that the trees began to dry! ""
In the photo from the Hermitage collection is the billiard room of Nicholas II. Large landscape
The development of the genre from antiquity to the present day: how did religion and the invention of oil painting contribute to the development of the genre in Europe, and why was the Hudson River so important? Lire la suite
in the center - "Pinery"Shishkin. Now this picture is in the collection of the Far Eastern Art Museum in Khabarovsk.


Emperor Nicholas II was a fan of Shishkin, but not always he managed to get into his collection what he wanted. Attitude to those in power according to the principle “more dear than their own father” - this approach to Shishkin was unusual. For example, his nephew Nikolai Stakheev was definitely nicer than the king.

Picture "At the edge of a pine forest"the public first saw in 1897 at the XXV exhibition of the Wanderers. The picture was shown in St. Petersburg and in Moscow. She was very pleased with the emperor, he wanted to buy it in her personal collection, but was refused. But on the desire of his nephew Nikolai Staheev, the owner of a rich collection of paintings, to buy this painting Shishkin answered with joyful agreement. So Nicholas II at that time was left with a nose, and a relative of the artist - with a picture. By the way, her further fate is also interesting.
Ivan Shishkin. Au bord d'une pinède
Au bord d'une pinède
1897, 109×162 cm

After the 1917 revolution, Stakheyev emigrated to Paris with his family. The Moscow House and most of its rich collection were nationalized. However, some of the objects of art that were especially expensive for Shishkin’s nephew were able to be taken out, including the painting “At the Edge of a Pine Forest”. In the 1920s, the Belgian artist Charles Defreyn bought a painting from the Stakheyevs. It was his descendants in June 2016 put the work at Sotheby's auction. Shishkin's painting turned out to be the most expensive lot at the auction of Russian art, its estimate was determined at 500-700 thousand pounds sterling (that is, the highest limit is a million dollars) and was exceeded twice. Surely absolutely transparent provenance also had its effect on pricing. A serious struggle broke out, four buyers held out the longest. As a result, on June 7, 2016, the work went for 1 million 385 thousand pounds sterling (2.009 million dollars). The buyer was in the hall, but did not want to disclose his name.

The painting “At the edge of a pine forest” depicts the spaces of the native Yelabugi, so lovely to the artist’s heart. Some researchers believe that Shishkin depicted himself in the figure on the cart. Shortly before that, he had buried his wife and two sons, and all he had left was his dear Yelabuga. The picture echoes his famous paintings - "Rye"and "Noon. In the vicinity of Moscow ".
Ivan Nikolayevich Kramskoy. Portrait of the artist Ivan Shishkin
Portrait of the artist Ivan Shishkin
1873, 110.5×78 cm

Once the artist was mistaken for “General, not a painter”. Shishkin's mother, Darya Romanovna, first visited the big city in her old age. When Ivan was small, she was very angry at his hobby, reproaching that instead of something sensible she was engaged in “soiling paper”, but in commerce she showed marvelous “dementia”. However, when in 1850 there was a terrible fire in Elabuga, first of all Daria Romanovna took out the manuscripts and books of her husband, as well as notebooks and drawings of her son. And when he returned to his home with the Academy's medals, and after - with the glory of the main Russian painter, the mother changed his attitude. Changed, but not quite. For that, it took Ivan Shishkin to finally become famous, to get rich and bring his mother to visit him in St. Petersburg. She entered the house, looked at the walls hung with paintings in golden frames, assessed the situation and chided her son: “Oh, Ivan, Ivan! What did you write to me as if you were a painter of some kind, and you were general?. Daria Romanovna was firmly convinced that the "painters" can not live so well.

Ivan Shishkin. Noon. In the vicinity of Moscow
Noon. In the vicinity of Moscow
1869, 111.2×80.4 cm

Russian hero Shishkin showed himself in Germany. The coveted Big Gold Medal of the Imperial Academy of Arts gave Shishkin the opportunity to make a pensioner's trip to Europe. Face-to-face acquaintance with European trends allowed the artist to fully understand how dear the Russian landscape
The development of the genre from antiquity to the present day: how did religion and the invention of oil painting contribute to the development of the genre in Europe, and why was the Hudson River so important? Lire la suite
and the Russian realistic school are to him. New trends in art did not touch him, and to any attempt to defame Shishkin, native for him, reacted with fervor and sometimes even with unusual aggression. Art critic Dmitry Uspensky describes the following case: “... in one of Munich’s beer houses, the Germans began to make fun of the Russians and Russia. Shishkin stood up. A quarrel began, ending in the crushing of a whole crowd of Germans. The case went to court, and there, as material evidence, there was an iron bar of a finger three thick, bent in an arc by the mighty hands of the fighting Ivan Ivanovitch. The court acquitted Shishkin, and German artists carried him from the courtroom to the nearest pub, where they saluted the fellow and good patriot ".
Ivan Nikolayevich Kramskoy. Portrait Of I. I. Shishkin
Portrait Of I. I. Shishkin
1880, 115×83 cm

Shishkin could not succeed in the pedagogical field. After the reorganization of the Imperial Academy of Arts, Shishkin was invited to lead a workshop at the Academy site.. This caused a lot of disagreements in the Association of Traveling Exhibitions (as well as, in principle, the desire of some of the Wanderers to improve relations with the Academy), passions were seething with serious ones. After much deliberation, the artist accepted the offer. But gossip in the Partnership and intrigues at the Academy made this time not particularly joyful. How Shishkin all his life did not like gossip, backroom games, gossip, intrigue! I avoided them whenever possible, but sometimes it was not possible. At the same time, we cannot doubt the teaching abilities of Shishkin, by that time his students were enrolled Andrey Schilder, Fedor Vasilyev, Olga Lagoda (Shishkin's second wife), Yefim Volkovother. Often he could take students and at his own expense go with them to nature, to work without being distracted by fuss. In the academic workshop Shishkin was very strict, the young ladies often left him in tears. But if he saw talent in a student, he supported it with all his strength, he helped with advice, protection and money if necessary.

Often, critics oppose Shishkin and Kuindzhi, calling one a master of drawing, the second - an unsurpassed colorist. There are certain reasons for this comparison. The workshops of these artists existed at the Academy at the same time, and Shishkin himself offered Kuindzhi to unite, so that he would teach students to draw, and Kuinji - to color. Arkhip Kuindzhi flatly refused and even stated that he finds Shishkin's method harmful to painting. In general, the relationship of these two masters is a very passionate story, they often quarreled violently, after which they made up, but not for long, until the next skirmish.

Learning from Shishkin turned out to be a more boring exercise than to deal with Kuinji. If Kuindzhi gave students freedom, then in Shishkin in the winter time in the class they learned to make more and more perfect drawings from photographs. Gradually, many of Shishkin's students turned to the next group, and Shishkin himself almost stopped attending classes, bitterly asserting that no one there would need his training. Soon he left the Academy - and because of all these troubles, and for health reasons. However, in a couple of years he will again be offered the place of the head of the landscape
The development of the genre from antiquity to the present day: how did religion and the invention of oil painting contribute to the development of the genre in Europe, and why was the Hudson River so important? Lire la suite
workshop, Kuindzhi did not teach at the Academy at that time, Kiselev took his place. Shishkin agreed, but not for long again - this time death intervened.


Title illustration: Ivan Kramskoy. Portrait of the artist Ivan Shishkin.

Author: Alena Grosheva
This text was originally published in Russian and automatically translated to English.