View in the Environs of St. Petersburg is a painting by Ivan Ivanovich Shishkin at the age of 24. The author was inspired by a simple rural plot: a tired peasant returns from the mowing in a cart pulled by a pinto. The road is familiar, the man is asleep. Above him is a deep blue sky. A white haze of clouds is visible only at the very horizon. The road runs through a picturesque forest. The young master managed to convey the natural texture to the smallest detail.
On the left is a huge oak tree, next to which a crooked birch tree with peeled bark is huddled. On the right you can see a bunch of boulders typical for the St. Petersburg area. The pink blossoms of Ivan tea indicate that it is mid-summer. The detailing of the image creates an almost photographic naturalness. Deep shadow contrasts with bright outdoor sunspot.
In the center, on the side of the road, there are the remains of a wooden fence, behind which one can guess a swamp. The dark surface of the water and the tall leaves of the cattail are visible. Not a single fragment of a summer corner of nature has been forgotten by the author; it has been carefully thought out and worked out with confident brush movements.
Painting View in the Environs of St. Petersburg by Ivan Shishkin – a living pastoral of measured village life
Author: Ivan Ivanovich Shishkin (1832-1898).
Year of writing: 1856
Size: 66.5 x 96 cm.
Technique: Oil painting.
Location: State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg.
Ivan Shishkin is a remarkable Russian painter of the 19th century, one of the most famous landscape painters in Russia.
He became famous as a connoisseur of the world around him, giving each tree, bush or bunch of grass on the ground a natural, recognizable shape. For his early, but very striking work, the author received a silver medal at the competition of young masters at the art academy. Contemporaries left many warm reviews, noting the pacification, the feeling of stately contemplative calm in the image.
The landscape differs from later works by the fine elaboration of details and the emphasized relief of each line. Thanks to this, it is perceived as an idealized rustic pastoral. The painting “View in the Environs of St. Petersburg” by Ivan Shishkin is one of the earliest works that illustrates the author’s desire to accurately convey amazing natural forms. In the future, the master achieved a perfect balance of his works, turning them into a real hymn to the Russian forest.