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At a whirlpool

Painting, 1892, 150×209 cm

Description of the artwork «At a whirlpool»

Landscape "At the pool" included in the famous levitanovskoy "dark trilogy", along with pictures "Vladimirka"and "Eternal rest". Three large canvases, where the confrontation between light and dark forces is not always immediately visible, but is always busy – takes place in the world ("vladimirka"), in heaven ("eternal rest) and on water ("pool"). Three paintings, which many who knew Levitan considered a direct reflection of his dramatic inner life.

The circumstances of the creation of the painting "At the pool"


In the summer of 1891, the year Isaac Levitan in the company of two ladies – his perennial companion Sophia Kuvshinnikova and Lydia (Faces) Mizinova close friend of the Chekhov family, went to visit the estate of Pokrovskoe, near Tver. It was the idea of Faces: Pokrovskoe belonged to her uncle, Nikolai Pavlovich Panafidina (by the way, Kuvshinnikova and Panafidin – one of the few people whose portraits he wrote Levitan – just his legacy of portraits a little more than ten, and completed a painting and less).

Between the recognized beauty Mizinova and a friend of Levitan Chekhov was something like a protracted beginning of the novel, which has still not escalated into something more, and Levitan teased from afar, Chekhov, in letters: "I write to you from a charming corner of the earth, where everything, starting with air and ending, God forgive me, the last thing that either there is a bug on the ground, imbued with it, it is divine Lika! Her yet, but she will be here, because she likes you, fair-haired, and I, location of volcanic brunette..." Epistolary picks, not really explaining what is happening with people, but kupiruemye her brilliant and damning irony was a favorite thing of both Chekhov and Levitan, and many of their women friends.

But the main lesson for Levitan and Sofia Petrovna Kuvshinnikova was etudes: a constant search of a suitable nature, a rare motive for which is sometimes traversed dozens of kilometers. In the nearby village of Lull Levitan liked the view of the pool near the abandoned mill, and he began to do pencil sketches. Near Calm lay the village of Bernovo estate of Wulf, once close acquaintances of Pushkin. Once Baroness Anna Wulf, the current owner Bernova saw Levitan at work, mentioned: it's not just you, Isaac Ilyich, intrigued and inspired by this dam in the river Darkness. Once Wulf was visiting the Pushkin told the story about how in this maelstrom of drowned the Miller's daughter – a gentleman sent her beloved soldiers; the girl was pregnant, then conscription lasted a long time, how not to drown? Pushkin's story impressed so much that several changing circumstances, he created based on it's unfinished drama "the mermaid".

Levitan was no less impulsive and impressionable than Pushkin, no wonder the great Explorer of photosynthesis Kliment Timiryazev, a good friend Levitan, called him "Pushkin Russian painting", and Alexander Benois notice that "Levitan was downright African view". There was a lot of personal coincidences for Levitan: not too big a stretch to say that disastrous whirlpool of love stories and rock "triangles" were persecuted and Levitan, and Pushkin's life. In addition, several years ago, it was "mermaid" already has played in the life of Levitan's an important role. The title Opera Dargomyzhsky on poems by Pushkin set in 1885, the year in their Private Opera Savva Mamontov and the scenery was invited to make greatly distressed Levitan, for whom this was the first really serious earnings. And now Levitan were able to look at the place that gave impetus to Pushkin. At the place where the drama was played, was a mystery. The artist even showed preserved "from the time" a millstone... of Course, this "place of perdition" fascinated Levitan. Kuvshinnikova he said "Everyone was living in your pool!.."

But Sofia Petrovna was concerned with much more prosaic things. This devoted woman, not only was ready to close my eyes in a parallel entrainment Levitan, but did everything he could not to think about the life or comfort. Throwing some sketches and felt that "it will go", Levitan decided to write a study from nature. "And for a whole week, – then told Kuvshinnikova, – in the morning we sat in the truck – Levitan on the box, I'm in the back seat – and drove the sketch, just the icon, to the mill, and then the same again".

Then Sofia Petrovna left. He returned to Moscow. She was waiting for her husband – a police surgeon. And Levitan left. The Czechs then displays this "triangle" in "the Grasshopper" – in the same way as Pushkin "mermaid", slightly changing the circumstances, but not so much that they could not be recognized.

Lika and Panafidin took Levitan Studio large room in an old house in Pokrovskoe, where he was finishing his "Pool."

Painting of Isaac Levitan "At the pool" in detail


Water. In the picture of the water Levitan uses the contrast: to the left of the jetty the water is boiling, and the right approach. Some see this as the juxtaposition of life with its boiling passion and death, is likened to the deadly water.

The sky. As in the painting "eternal rest" and many other works of Levitan, the sky here sets the basic emotional tone of the painting. Wind-tossed clouds, dark and ragged, shapeless, additionally pumped disturbing atmosphere.

Bridges from the old boards pass into a whitish old log dam, which, in turn, continue with a footpath that leads away into the forest. All together sets of composite vertical picture, which leads the viewer's eye, the "tightening" of him in the obscurity darkening forest, like a mermaid luring travelers was late.

Vegetation submitted stunted trampled grass in the foreground, as you move the viewer's eye deep into the picture it becomes more and more menacing, thick and dark, and its "doubling" in the waters of the dam reinforces the impression of a "godforsaken place".

Interesting facts about picture of Levitan "At the pool"


• In February 1892, the year the painting was exhibited at the 20th traveling exhibition and was immediately purchased Pavel Tretyakov for his gallery. However, after a short time, Tretyakov brought her back to the artist for revision. Apparently, it was a rewrite of the water in the foreground. In mid-may of 1892 Levitan reported Tretyakov: "Do not think that I have forgotten Your request and my own consciousness to fix the water in my "pool". I hesitated to write it until then, until you test this motif with nature". After completion of "At the pool" back to Tretyakov.

• Some researchers believe that the dissatisfaction with the picture of Levitan Tretyakov prompted criticism AndLi Repin that picture did not like. In letters to Tretyakov, Repin was noted that the picture it is not finished: "for its size is not done", "overall not bad".

• If this story and this tune came Vasnetsov, he probably would not fail to portray themselves mermaids. But Levitan was alien to the poetic approach to nature, and to enter the figures in his paintings he didn't like. Friend Levitan, the artist Mikhail Nesterov I was sure that the painting "At the pool" is autobiographical and "reflects something experienced by the author and embodied in the real forms of dramatic landscape".

• The image of the mire in the culture almost always is archetypal: it is linked to ideas of an unhappy love, a terrible crime, something hidden from prying eyes or the unspeakable threat.

"Quiet abode" Levitan, which he showed at the exhibition a year earlier, imagery and emotional antithesis of the picture "At the pool". In the first prevails in the harmonious and bright attitude, the second – a dark, mystical.

Author: Anna Yesterday
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Landscape

Style of art: Realism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1892

Size: 150×209 cm

Artwork in selections: 88 selections

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