Isaac Levitan’s brush is undoubtedly felt in the painting “Falconers”. The sky, which only he could write, is distinguished by a special depth, the moist air is felt by the whole body, it seems that the first heavy raindrops will fall from the sky. Huge gigantic pines, walling on both sides of the alley, seem to be guards guarding the forest peace. Standing behind the pines, young maples shed their foliage – it decorates the park path with light spots. The alley itself leads far, far into the distance – almost into the sky. Fallen leaves distinguish it with a light stripe among the green, not yet dried grass, on which light spots of fallen leaves also stand out.
This heartfelt work became evidence of Levitan’s assimilation of the poetic traditions and achievements of the Russian and European landscape and the originality of his lyrical gift. Despite the fact that similar images of an alley strewn with autumn leaves are found in the works of Fyodor Vasilyev, Alexei Savrasov and Pavel Bryullov, and Levitan’s “revitalization” of the park landscape by a lonely female figure, apparently, was also associated with the impressions of the paintings of Polenov shown at the 1879 traveling exhibition “Grandma’s Garden” and “Overgrown Pond”, the work is organic. Specifically Levitanian intonations sound purely and completely in it, and a measure of unity of etude spontaneity and the “picture” poetic content of the landscape, perhaps unprecedented for Russian painting, has been achieved.
The breadth of the artist’s soul is felt in every stroke. Trunks, foliage, tree crowns are clearly marked by the artist. At the same time, the airiness of the landscape, the dampness of autumn is conveyed through slightly blurred colors. The entire canvas is literally saturated with loneliness, sadness and some kind of special Russian melancholy.
In Levitan’s painting “Sokolniki” there is one stroke uncharacteristic for the artist – this is the figure of a woman walking towards the viewer. This figure was completed by another artist – Nikolai Chekhov, the brother of the famous writer. Apparently, unmistakably guessing the mood of his comrade, he decided to enhance the impression of the picture by including in it a lonely dark human image.
A very small, but precious painting sketch for this painting – “Autumn Leaves” has also survived. With the concentration of reverent sacred action, gentle and quiet touches of the brush, the beauty of fallen leaves, the play of their golden, opal, almost lilac and lemon-yellow colors are conveyed in it. Painting “Autumn Day. Sokolniki “was noticed by the audience and received, perhaps, the highest possible assessment at that time – it was acquired by Pavel Tretyakov, a sensitive lover of landscape painting, who placed above all in it not” beauty “, but the soul, the unity of poetry and truth. This painting was the first, bought by Tretyakov for his legendary collection, from this painting the Tretyakov Gallery began.
Year of painting: 1879.
Dimensions of the painting: 63 x 50 cm.
Writing technique: oil.
Gallery: State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia.