This landscape has just arrived into my collection.
It was painted by Kim Britov, the founding father of the Vladimir School of painting.
The colours he used bring out the blue in a way a photo can’t capture it. So you’ll have to take my word for it: a friend of mine who helped me to unpack it yesterday and was the first to see it was mesmerised by its blue harmony.
The azure waters of the lake suck in the viewer like a mermaid song. Exposure to this painting is not recommended to people with suicidal tendencies: they risk drowning.
What this landscape is about? Or, shall I put it this way: Why did I pay a helluva lot of money for this painting?
It is a story about nature in transition, struggling through a conflict between two seasons. Winter has just trespassed on the Autumn territory. Autumn is a punctual season, and regardless of whether Global Warming is a hoax or not, it comes right after Summer, always on time and people never scold it, if it’s a bit late. Winter loves to show up early making a dramatic entrance. The early snow may soon melt, but everyone is left with the impression of impending Winter anyway. You get the premonition of Winter you’d like not to have at least for the next couple of months.
The world froze for a moment in this painting, being startled by this early entry of M-me Winter, who gate-crashed the party of yellow fields and brown trees.
The Church, which is the brightest spot in this painting, tells you to accept and enjoy this world, with its mix up of autumns and winters, for there can be a higher purpose in life than the next harvest. Early snow? It’d melt. Be patient.
In this call for patience this landscape is very Russian, for Russians value their ability to wait out troubling times has always been worthy of the Guinness Book of Records.
Now, once I understand this landscape for what it is, what do I feel about it? A few friends told me that instead of doing autopsies on artworks I better watch them “spontaneously” and be “simply emotional” about them. I can’t agree with this. Having done the dissecting, I can experience a longer-term and deeper emotion than otherwise. (But that’s me. Other people may feel differently).
I feel calm, and my reservoir of patience is replenished. I am reminded that even the gloomiest season can provide enjoyment, that human ability to enjoy life doesn’t have to depend on the weather or, let’s generalise a bit, circumstances on the outside. It is all about the inside state of mind. And, trust me, that’s a stong feeling, given the kind of day I had today, rushing and running to and fro since morning until now.
Thank you, the Daily Post for reminding me that sometimes, I need to say what I feel about a work of art, not just what I know about it.
I found your blog via a search on the Vladimir School of Painting – having just returned from The Museum of Russian Art’s exhibit on the same. Your Britov painting is exquisite! It’s a perfect example of the school’s lack of de-saturating colors in the distance. Interestingly, this overall vibrancy doesn’t interfere with the creation of depth – quite remarkable. My feeling is the clouds in your painting are low near the horizon and therefore would not be reflected in the lake. It could be assumed that there were no clouds over, or near over, the lake.
There are quite a few Britovs in TMROA’s exhibit – including ‘March Evening’ and ‘In the End of Winter.’ I believe you would love this show. If you find yourself near Minneapolis in the near future – the exhibit is on until March 3, 2018.
What I like in this picture are the different shades of blue: the deep blue of the lake, which seems to have as its basis a Prussian blue, for the sky the painter seems to have played with an ultramarine blue, the white of snow is mixed with blue Paris. The contrast of the various types of blue with other colors makes this art-work almost hypnotic, it seems that we can be able to enter into it and get lost in this calm bliss.
That’s very true! I hanged it quite high, I must admit, and that was probably a mistake.
I would also give a lot to be reminded about this now. My congrats, pearl for your collection
In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer. (c) Albert Camus 😉
When looking at the painting above you are immediately drawn to the water, it has that “drowning in a painting” effect.
I do agree that to enjoy a piece of art it is a state of mind, negative people will see dark and gloom, whereas positive people will see the glory and love. Every painting has it`s own unique story to tell!
Thank you for looking at it. From me, and from the painting. It loves being watched, not just seen. I’d say each great painting has its own story to tell, if you look closely enough ) There are two many paintings out there that are not telling a story. This painting has another interesting aspect to it: most artists would be tempted to show cloud reflections in the lake. But not here. Can you guess why? ))
It could be for expressive reasons, clouds make shadows and therefore creates more of a dramatic effect. The artist could also be trying to create escapism aka an alternate reality and this is enhanced by absent cloud reflections in the water. The asymmetrical design could also reinforce the idea of imperfections.
Looks like early Kandisky?
Kandinsky of 1903-1905 was really different in the way he used colour: he was using small specks of contrasting colours to “illuminate” a painting. He did his “speckled” job on top of flat areas of colour in the background with clearly defined shapes the boundaries of which he almost always defined by a dark line. In those works he was very close to the manner of a famous book illustrator, Ivan Bilibin. Britov’s technique (and colour palette) is very different, but you are right about Kandinsky’s influences on him, if not in the manner, then in the love for colour conflict that, in fact, appeared in Kandinsky’s works around 1908-1909, though at that time Kandinsky went towards a very different technique. In fact, when I meet Britov’s daughter next time, I’ll ask her about Kandinsky’s influences on her father. Thank you for the idea!
Thanks for the detailed explanation. Seeing your picture, I have to think spontaneously of a Kandinsky that I once saw in a museum. It’s called “Green Street in Murnau” is created in in 1907. But I’m just not an expert in art as you, so thank you again for the reply.
I think you mean Autumn in Murnau of 1908 (when he moved to this place). Kandinsky then was very expressionistic, trying to create the impression not only with the colours he used, but by varying the length and width of his dabs. Some parts of his paintings look as if he used watercolour instead of oils. If you google up that period, you’d see it. And thank you for your most interesting comments!
It’s a bold almost brash painting from the outset due to that intense colour (for me reminiscent of Van Gogh), but I love how it reveals itself slowly, with a wonderful depth. I could gaze into that lake for a very long time…
You know, if I remove everything, but the lake, its blue will be just some bold brash blue, not the Klein’s blue, and not very impressive. But when this Britov’s blue comes into conflict with other colours, it becomes the Wow kind of blue that has that drownign effect )) Mondrian gave rise to a lot of colour innovation in interior design, and though Britov is much less known, I think his ideas can lead to some interesting innovations as well. I was just thinking of using a similar or derived colour scheme for interior design, and something tells me it can be captivating ))