Alexei Savrasov’s painting “Countryside” fully embodied the request of Pavel Tretyakov, who complained in a letter to Apollinarius Goravsky about the excessive artificial beauty of nature in the paintings of many contemporaries: “Give me a dirty puddle, but so that it contains truth, poetry, and poetry in everything maybe this is the artist’s business. ” Savrasov showed how no one had succeeded before him, the beauty of the unadorned Russian landscape. And yes, there is certainly poetry in his puddles.
The painting “Country Road” is by no means a ceremonial view. If you go through the poetry and lyricism, which are due to the highest skill of the artist, then the landscape would be, to put it mildly, not the most joyful. But with Savrasov he sings, flows and sounds, and it will not be possible to “pass through” his lyricism. The highest skill is that Savrasov does not allow the slightest attempt to embellish reality. The road blurred by the rains could make one remember one of the two troubles of Russia. Spreading mud, puddles are in the foreground. There are no such country roads in Russia. But when Savrasov writes it, we are not thinking about a bad road, the heart squeezes from unnamed, aching sensations. By the way, about the sensations. The landscape may well be interpreted as “impressionism in Russian”. Isn’t it about trying to stop the moment, does it not capture in a whirlpool of sensations?
The puddles shine like precious ones, the “road slabs” turn into an aesthetic object, and the sky – about Savrasov’s sky one can talk endlessly, it’s not for nothing that he was called “the king of the sky”.
“Without air, a landscape is not a landscape. How many birches or fir trees do not plant in the landscape, whatever you think of, and if you don’t write the air, then the landscape is rubbish, ”Savrasov said. And here again there is a roll call with the Impressionists, who declared air to be a full-fledged hero of painting, and not a background.
The artist used mostly warm muted tones. Thanks to this, the picture seems to shimmer, exudes an inner, hidden light. Warm colors are balanced by the freshness of emerald rain-washed grass. It depicts a moment after the rain and before the sun comes out. In general, Savrasov was able to masterfully show the moment preceding the sun breaking through the clouds. Savrasov in his landscapes does not drag nature to the mountain heights, he reveals in it – the most ordinary, everyday practical – its beauty, inner essence and timelessness.
The artist presented this painting to his fellow traveler Illarion Pryanishnikov, and for 20 years it was in a closed collection. The public saw her for the first time only in 1893.
Year of painting: 1873.
Dimensions of the painting: 70 x 57 cm.
Writing technique: oil.
Gallery: State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia.