Isaac Levitan – “Vladimirka”

“Vladimirka” is considered by specialists to be a “social” landscape, which are extremely few among the large number of works by Isaac Levitan and a rather interesting story is connected with this work. The artist and his muse and student Sofya Kuvshinnikova, in addition to their passion for each other and painting, also shared a passion for hunting, where Sofya Petrovna could boast of significant success. Once they left for a hunt in the Vladimir province, they twisted for several tedious hours through the forest and finally came out onto a wide road marked by verst posts. Sitting down to rest, Isaac Levitan suddenly realized where they were: “Why, this is the same Vladimirka, along which people have been going to Siberia for a hundred years!” – he exclaimed and the idea of ​​the future picture was born in his head.

The artist finished this work in 1892. In fact, “Vladimirka” is yet another magnificently executed landscape filled with the tragic beauty of Russian nature so beloved by Levitan. But the title of the picture echoed in the minds of the audience with an oppressive atmosphere, the tragedies of people-prisoners, walking along this road to hard labor in Siberia. This duality of images helped this work become one of the most important works of Levitan and the favorite painting of the revolutionary-minded intelligentsia.

Description of the painting by Isaac Levitan “Vladimirka” in English

Levitan wrote his famous “Vladimirka” in 1892. This picture is distinguished by the expressive depth of semantic content and a special poetic sadness. Today she is called one of the best landscape canvases of this painter, but immediately after writing it, the critic recognized the work as dull and inconspicuous and did not attach much importance.

With this work, the painter immortalized the memory of convicts, who until 1890 were sent to Siberia to penal servitude along this road. Before us is a rather gloomy landscape: the end of summer, an almost bare steppe, the road leading into the distance, Clearing its place, the forest makes way ahead. Low-hanging gloomy sky with scraps of running clouds causes melancholy and sad memories. The road stretched endlessly, running beyond the horizon …

The legendary Levitan’s “Vladimirka” attracts the viewer with its rich historical content and tragic notes of poetry. And in terms of the picturesque picture is very interesting. After all, it harmoniously combines the sophistication of the pattern with a variety of colorful shades: from pale grayish, depicting the sky, to greenish – earthy, reflecting the steppe. The very anxious mood of the overcast sky, menacingly hanging over the winding tape of a steppe road, is masterfully transmitted.

The monotonous dull landscape is slightly enlivened by a bright spot depicting a church that is written out in front of and the dark figure of a woman. She stands near the roadside cross in silent waiting. A lot of bitter destinies were seen by this road, causing bitter feelings of hopelessness and longing …

The entire canvas is imbued with the author’s selfless love for his Homeland, his sincere compassion and participation in another’s grief, poor convicts, mothers, sisters and wives, patiently waiting for them near the road. The artist presented this picture to the Tretyakov Gallery.

Year of painting: 1892. Dimensions of the painting: 103 x 79 cm. Material: canvas. Writing technique: oil. Genre: landscape. Style: realism. Gallery: State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia.

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