Polenov – “Moscow courtyard”

Moscow courtyard. Etude

For the first time they sounded in the radiant “Moscow courtyard”. In 1877, in Trubnikovsky Lane (on the Arbat), the artist rented an apartment and made a sketch from the Savior-on-Pesky, visible from the workshop window. After St. Petersburg, Moscow seems to Polenov soulful and alive. It’s fun to work. At nine in the morning he is already at work, putting his brushes aside only at nine in the evening. Such rapture and joyful excitement – everything works out! – he has not experienced, perhaps since childhood. Let the shed stand here. The old house on the original sketch grows into a lordly dilapidated mansion. View from above? No, let’s go into this courtyard, let it be the way its inhabitants see it. Children poured onto the already warmed-up grass. The woman, full of strength, cheerfully carries a heavy bucket. The horse, ready to go, is waiting for the owner. It is not yet noon, but there is already a little more sun than in the sketch. It is gentle and the air is fresh. The golden domes of the churches shrouded in haze stretch to the sky. Nikola in Carpenters is added to the Savior on the Sands. Nothing highlighted, not underlined. There is no naturalism or rhetoric. Festive light envelops everything around. What a holiday? Where from? The most common day, not even Sunday. Sparkling domes and gentle sun, elegant translucent walls and the peaceful life of the inhabitants of the courtyard create such a mood. The mood that was characteristic of the artist when working on the painting “Moscow Courtyard” in 1878, which is exhibited at the exhibition of the Association of Traveling Art Exhibitions.

Polenov not that he does not appreciate his creation, made without much difficulty, without torment and sweat – on inspiration. He is a little shy of that direct childish view of the world around him, which perceives everything with trust, ease and happiness, with love for this backwater, where every detail – dear and close – is part of a harmonious whole world. Polenov knows that everyone expects a serious, historical picture from him, and at this time he is enjoying a corner of old Moscow. “When the“ Moscow Courtyard ”was first exhibited, next to it all the sketches and landscapes of other artists seemed black like an oilcloth, there was so much light, air, cheerfulness and truth in this painting, small in size, but deep in content…” – recalled Polenov’s student V.N. Baksheev.

The master who wrote “Moscow Courtyard” was already an excellent master of the plein air. Transmitting light, he is content with only the most necessary colors: green grass, light blue, slightly greenish roofs, blue sky, grayish-fawn buildings and a fence, thereby achieving overall harmony.

Year of painting: 1878.

Dimensions of the painting: 64.5 x 80.1 cm.

Material: canvas.

Writing technique: oil.

Genre: urban landscape.

Style: realism.

Gallery: State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia.

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