“March” is a famous painting by Isaac Ilyich Levitan in 1895. The canvas depicts a clear, sunny day in the very beginning of spring.
Painting March by Isaac Levitan – the charm of the outgoing winter
There is still snow everywhere. But the bright spring sun is already caressing the land and trees. Under its warm rays, the snow cover in the foreground shrank, became loose, spongy. In the center of the composition, a horse harnessed to a sleigh is warming up. High, high on a birch, against the background of the piercing blue March sky, a birdhouse perched, ready to receive a noisy bird family.
The wall of the two-story wooden house on the right seems to emit yellow light, warming everything around. A snow cap on the black porch roof is about to fall and crumble. The thawed patches going from the house to the road gradually widen, but still run into deep snowdrifts.
On the left in the background are dark green conifers. Shrouded in cold thick shadow, they seem to resist the approaching heat. But spring confidently comes into its own. The work reflects many details of nature awakening from winter sleep, filled with an atmosphere of jubilation, light and bright colors.
Title of the painting: “March”. Author: Isaac Levitan (1860-1900).
Year of writing: 1895
Size: 60 x 75 cm.
Technique: Oil painting.
Location: State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.
Isaac Levitan – an outstanding Russian artist of the late 19th century
He is the creator of “mood landscapes” in which poetry is harmoniously combined with major notes. He, like no one else, knew how to spiritualize nature, to reveal its subtlest states, to express on the canvas the feelings of a person contemplating the world around him. The works of the painter are filled with lyrics, life truth and are distinguished by tremendous pictorial skill.
The artist did not like to paint winter themes, he preferred spring-autumn motives rich in colors. The painting “March”, with an abundance of non-melting snow, became a rare exception in his work. However, in it, the master embodied the clash of opposing forces of nature – heat and cold, light and darkness.
The idea of the painting appeared spontaneously.
Visiting the Turchaninov family in Gorki, Tver province, Isaak Ilyich was inspired by the landscape in the backyard of the estate that opened to his eyes, the lyrics of the March drip and melting snows. He immediately set to work. He painted completely from life, abandoning the creation of preliminary studies, quickly and enthusiastically. To convey all the uniqueness of this borderline pore, Levitan uses light colors. Even the thawed patches in his picture are not dirty, dark, like in autumn, but light, ocher. Applying a short, energetic stroke, characteristic of the impressionist technique, the master creates the illusion of a light movement of air.
The horizontal planes of the second and third plan, with a snow-covered lawn and a pine forest in the distance, he crosses out with nervous vertical rhythms of naked white-trunk birches. He embodies the harmony of spring sunbeams with gilded flashes of colors, contrasting with the shining color of the sky and the pale tones of snowdrifts.
The painting “March” by Isaac Levitan was presented at two traveling exhibitions in 1896, made a splash among artists and became a turning point in the history of Russian painting. It turned out that no one had ever painted snow and the sky so bright, fresh and life-affirming. Redeemed by Pavel Tretyakov, the work is included in the collection of the Tretyakov Gallery and still serves as a source of inspiration for landscape painters.