Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ivan Shishkin

Rye Fields
oil on canvas
107 × 187 cm
Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia

Ivan Ivanovich Shishkin (1832-1898) was a Russian landscape painter closely associated with the Peredvizhniki movement. Among the Russian landscape painters Shishkin was the staunchest and most consistent exponent of the materialistic aesthetics-to depict nature in all its pure, unadorned beauty. For contemporaries, Shishkin’s personality embodied Russian nature itself; they called him “forest tzar”, “old pine tree”, and “lonely oak”. He owned a dacha in the south of St. Petersburg. There he painted some of his finest landscapes. His works are notable for poetic depiction of seasons in the woods, wild nature, animals and birds.

He was born in Yelabuga of Vyatka Governorate (today Republic of Tatarstan) into the family of a merchant. He graduated from the Kazan gymnasium. Then, he studied in the Moscow School of Painting and Sculpture. He continued his studies in St. Petersburg, in the Academy of Arts. He graduated with the highest honours and a gold medal, and he received the Imperial scholarship for his further studies in Europe. From 1862, he spent 3 years in Germany, Switzerland, Czech, France, Belgium and Holland. Gradually he got disappointed in his foreign teachers and European authorities in landscape painting. In 1865, he returned to Russia and settled in St. Petersburg. He became a member of the Imperial Academy in St. Petersburg and was professor of painting from 1873 to 1898. At the same time, he headed the landscape painting class at the Highest Art School in St. Petersburg. His painting method was based on analytical studies of nature. He died in St. Petersburg, Russia, while working on his new painting.