Saturday, October 15, 2016

Walkway and Itinerants

An 11x14 pastel of Ogunquit from the Marginal Way, a walkway along the water's edge.  I did this one on pastelbord, a nice hard surface.

Isaac Levitan belonged to a group of painters called the Itinerants, because they exhibited throughout Russia in the second half of the 19th century.  They were seen as opponents of the official academy, since they depicted Russian genre scenes, history, and people including peasants.  Levitan seldom painted people, but his landscapes were accepted as depictions of the motherland, a beautiful idealized place, that contrasted with the general misery of the people.  However, Levitan's landscapes offer much more than scenes of the motherland.  If we look at the landscapes of Levitan's contemporary, Ivan Shishkin, we see pictures of the idealized motherland with tall pines and great forests, in contrast to Levitan's emotional power.  Closer to home, for a similar contrast, compare the western paintings of Albert Bierstadt with Winslow Homer's late Maine seascapes.

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