Lev Feliksovich Lagorio – the genius of the seascape and majestic mountain views
Lev Feliksovich Lagorio (born December 9, 1826 – died November 17, 1905) is a genius Russian landscape painter of the 19th century, an excellent marine painter, master of battle and portrait genres. Lagorio’s work reflects the traditions of academic painting. Like significant successes in the master’s biography, it is inextricably linked with the sea. The master’s paintings, made in a realistic manner, combine the spontaneity of a sketch from nature and a soft discreet color scheme, are filled with the inspired poetry of nature, immerse the viewer in an atmosphere of romance and tranquility.
Lev Feliksovich Lagorio was born in the Crimea, was of Neapolitan blood, took Russian citizenship and traveled a lot in Europe. In his works, the serenity of the Italian school merged with Russian psychologism. A believable image of the real world is enhanced by the contrast of light and shadow, a careful study of the smallest elements. The water in the artist’s paintings is deep, the coastal rocks are written down to the fault lines, even the leaves can be seen on the plants.
Lev Feliksovich Lagorio was born on December 9, 1826 in Feodosia. Like all boys, he spent a lot of time on the seashore and admired the water element. The early manifested craving for drawing leads the 12-year-old teenager to the studio of the famous marine painter Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky. It is here that the young artist’s love for painting and seascape, which has become the work of his entire life, is formed.
Leo Lagorio’s talent does not go unnoticed. At the age of 17, with the support of the Tavrichesk governor, he entered the Imperial Academy of Arts. Later he receives financial assistance from Duke Maximilian of Leuchtenberg (Maximilian Joseph Auguste de Beauharnais, Herzog von Leuchtenberg), who headed the educational institution. Comprehending the mastery of the fine arts, the young man studied under the eminent artists of battle painting Alexander Sauerweid and Bogdan Villevalde, the famous landscape painter Maxim Vorobyov.
The most productive period in the work of Lev Lagorio began in the mid-1840s. In 1845-1846, he painted sketches from nature, sailing on boats and ships on the Gulf of Finland and along the coastline. In 1847-1849 he worked tirelessly in Staraya Ladoga, Vyborg, Valaam Monastery, created the first serious paintings, for which he was awarded the highest awards of the Academy and the opportunity to continue his education abroad.
The landscapes of the young artist are distinguished by the simplicity of the motive, the immediacy of perception and transmission of nature. Critics note the great talent of the student, his “happy look at nature, which is the artistry of the works.”
In 1850, the academy sent Lagorio to the Caucasus to “capture the views there.” The mountains conquer the artist with their monumentality and light effects, along with the sea they become a favorite theme. He paints paintings in which a rich shadow contrasts with the reflections of invisible sun rays on the surfaces of a stone ridge. Later, the master will repeatedly return to this land, and impressions of the beauty and grandeur of nature will be reflected in subsequent works.
Lev Lagorio spent the next seven years in Western Europe: three of them – in France, where he visits the Louvre and the Luxembourg Palace, gets acquainted with the work of French masters, and four more – in Italy. Draws secluded corners of the environment, wild rocks, small bodies of water, old chapels. Depicting popular sights, he finds new perspectives. His works acquire freshness and novelty. Returning to Russia, the artist presents over 30 landscapes and is awarded a professorship.
The artist’s subsequent life and work took place mainly in St. Petersburg. Sometimes he travels to Russia and Europe. He spends the summer in Crimea, in Sudak he equips a workshop. Having become a famous marine painter, Lagorio takes many orders, which negatively affects the quality of the work. Monotonous motives and techniques appear in landscapes. Some of the paintings remain in the form of unfinished sketches.
In the late 1870s, Lev Feliksovich returned to the Caucasus. The reason is the Russian-Turkish war, in which the artist participates in the role of a correspondent. He painted battle compositions reflecting the dramatic events of that time until the mid-1890s. Carefully and painstakingly depicting scenes of military operations.
For the last decade, Lev Feliksovich has been painting in his usual manner, but prefers watercolors. The art is still dominated by the marine theme. The plots reproduce the coastal views with photographic accuracy. Palette becomes less saturated. In 1905, on November 17, the master leaves the world.
The most famous paintings of Lev Feliksovich Lagorio Most of the works of the great master are in the collections of Russian and foreign museums located in the territories of the former Soviet Union. Some works of the artist wished to leave untitled, believing that the depicted sights do not need to be described.
The most famous paintings of Lev Feliksovich Lagorio:
“Staraya Ladoga” (1843) — one of the earliest extant landscapes of the artist depicting the fortress of St. George and the Nikolsky Monastery.
“Vyborg” (1848) – a study for which the master was awarded the first academic award. Currently on display in the Crimean Art Gallery.
“Winter view of the former wine town on Vasilyevsky Island” (1849) – located in the Irkutsk Museum, the painting is also known as “Cart of ice”, reflects the author’s skill when working with a winter landscape.
“View of Lakhta near St. Petersburg” (1850) – a work also known as” View of the swamp on the Fox’s Nose”, brought the young master the highest award of the Academy.
“Portrait of Kozma Prutkov “(1853) – a pompous and self-satisfied image created in Paris in collaboration with a close friend Alexander Beidemann. And Lev Zhemchuzhnikov, is characterized by a high level of elaboration of details in the literary mask.
“The Pontic Marshes” (1860) — one of the works of the Italian period, which served as the basis for awarding the artist a professorship.
“Repulsing the assault on the fortress of Bayazet” (1891) – the work went down in history as one of the glorious pages of the heroic defense of the outpost. Lev Feliksovich Lagorio left a bright mark on the history of Russian painting. His works captivate with sincerity, spontaneity and subtle lyrical emotionality, convey to contemporaries the romantic mood of nature.