Levitan – “Above Eternal Peace”

Isaac Levitan’s painting “Above Eternal Peace” is the artist’s third work in a dramatic trilogy, which also includes the paintings “At the Pool” and “Vladimirka”. This canvas is distinguished by the appearance of a philosophical component in it, which is no less important than admiring nature. The work is filled with loneliness and deep longing, which is emphasized by a carefully thought-out choice of angle.

The work of a landscape painter impressed many with its emotionality. A grandiose panorama opens before the audience: a high cape of the coast, the endless expanses of the lake and a huge sky with thunderclouds. The cape seems to be floating, but the viewers involuntarily direct their gaze forward in the direction of its movement to a small island, to the blue distances on the horizon and then up to the sky. Three elements – earth, water and sky – are captured at once, at one glance, they are depicted in general, in large, clearly outlined details. And it is precisely the generality of the depicted landscape that differs from the previous ones – the artist creates a majestic, monumental image of nature.

Here, as in other paintings by Levitan, nature lives. In this picture, the psychologism inherent in all the paintings of the author acquires a new quality: here, too, nature lives, but its own life, flowing against the will of man. She is spiritualized, as nature is spiritualized in fairy tales, epics. The viewer sees here not just the surface of the water, in which the environment is reflected, as is customary to us, he feels it as a single mass that sways in a huge bowl and glows with a single whitish-lead color. The sky is also enveloped in movement, majestic actions unfold on it: the chaotically piling, swirling, colliding clouds of darker, lead-violet, tones and lighter, heavier and lighter tones move. And only a small pink cloud emerging from the gap between the clouds, a cloud, the outlines of which resemble an island in a lake, calmly floats by and will soon disappear.

Let us also note the earthly part of the picture – a cape with an old church nestled on it, trees swaying by the wind and twisted grave crosses. Earthly life is included in the eternal life of nature. Reflections on the meaning of life, on the life and death of a person, on immortality, on the infinity of life, this canvas gives rise to. Levitan wrote in one of his letters: “Eternity, terrible eternity, in which generations have drowned and will drown yet … What horror, what fear!”

“The painting” Above Eternal Peace “makes you think about the meaning of life and its transience. In it I am all, with all my psyche, with all my content, ”the artist himself said about this picture.

Year of painting: 1894.

Dimensions of the painting: 150 x 206 cm.

Material: canvas.

Writing technique: oil.

Genre: landscape.

Style: realism.

Gallery: State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia.

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