Watching boring life can be exciting

If you love Russian literature, you will probably like this realistic painter whose oils give the viewer iconic scenery fit for any of Chekhov’s plays or Turgenev’s novels.

He is a typical Russian artist, whose work rarely shows any conflict, be it the one between colours or shapes, or lines. His palette is soft, pastel, and very predictable. His style is like that of an impressionist painter who’s been warned not to use pure colours unless he wants to end up with all his fingers broken.

Think of Chekhov’s Three Sisters, for instance. Let’s walk inside it.

Reduced whole

The table, set for tea, might welcome you to step into the painting and take one of the chairs if the artist thought of putting tea cups on it. Let’s assume it was a servant’s oversight, so now you can vent out your frustration at Natasha or whatever was the name of that young housemaid, and then complain to your friends about servants being not as good as they were in the old days.


Otherwise, the setting is perfect. The red-backed sofa makes the table the centre of attention via its subtle contrast with the greens outside. The highlights on the table-cloth are the brightest spot in this painting, and the more detailed brushwork, with which it is painted, glue the eyes to the play of light on the pots standing on it (this can be easily seen on the picture with reduced brightness).


As your eye roams the table and appreciates the coziness of cushion on the chairs, the painter offers you a few more elements to help you walk through the scene: a carefully arranged bouquet of  flowers on the right side (at least the maid knows how to do that), and a row of potted plants on the left.


It is easy to imagine yourself on this terrace, waiting for your cup to be brought from the family china cabinet, and listening to the rustle of trees.

It is just as easy to imagine yourself bored to death with this life, and, following Chekhov’s sisters, crying passionately, “To Moscow!” meaning, please, get me the hell out of here, and don’t mention the rustling trees ever again.

This painting would probably fetch something like 1.5 or 2 thousand dollars from a buyer who has never had a country estate with a terrace, and won’t be complaining about servants because he has never had one:  a buyer who wants a dream of peaceful rural life to hang on his wall.

Did you want to step into the painting when you saw it first time?

Do you like it? Do you like the style or the colours?

Do you think there is some potential here, if the artist is forcibly taken away from the confines of his Russian context and, say, taken to New York or Paris for a refreshment of themes and ideas?


  1. Delightful painting – my first thought was elegance and grace in it.
    Yes, yes and yes to the first 3 questions. As for the one re potential, I would need to see more than 1 piece by this artist before I make a pronouncement (ahem, ahem).

  2. Yes,i like the painting. It’s very peaceful. He has potential certainly. But my guess is, from this painting only, he paints very well with soft paints and light touches which-taken in today’s more intense way of expressing-might take him time to get recognized.

  3. I just got back from a short story class, we discussed Lady with the Dog. Chekhov gets all the praise he deserves, but Turgenev is underrated. Fathers and Sons is brilliant, Bazarov is one of my favorite characters to this day.

    1. Well, perhaps, outside of Russia Turgenev is not as well known as Chekhov, but in Russia the former has 500K links on google vs. the latter’s 800K. So the difference is not that big ))

      1. That’s interesting. I know here in America James Fenimore Cooper is largely forgotten, but I’ve heard in Russia and much of Europe he’s still pretty popular.

  4. I like the painting and the colours too. It brings a serenity to a world of terror and misery. Sometimes boring has its moment. One thing I don’t understand, why the lamp on the table?
    They are outside and it is still daylight. Was this meant to be an evening encounter? That could explain the lack of cups and saucers. The table isn’t fully set because it was meant for later in the evening.

    1. The light, the shadows, and the cold palette indicate morning. Of course the painter was making an arrangement of object on the table, not just painting what was there naturally. I guess the lamp attracted him because of its multicoloured lampshade. You are very right to question the relevance of the lamp, but I think the artist simply put on a few objects of different shapes to liven up the painting without giving much thought to what the whole set may represent to the viewer.

  5. I find it’s always very interesting yur way of reading the paintings, very personal but perfectly accurate and I like it a lot.
    I really like the style and colors of this painting and make me think of our Tuscany, or the hills of Lake Garda.

    1. Thank you, Neda! I think of Tuscany as generally having more sun in summer, but again, I only spend there two weeks in summer, perhaps, there are mornings when light is exactly like that in the painting. This artist is, actually, very good in painting nights. I need to share a few of his night paintings )

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