Task 14. Enrich this description with your own impression.

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Task 14. Enrich this description with your own impression.

In “Above Eternal Peace” Levitan has created an image so beautiful and so memorable that it would be difficult to dismiss it lightly as just another landscape painting. As much as painting an image of the Russian land, Levitan evokes a mood of peace and tranquility that becomes inseparable from the idea of space and freedom, and from the universal quality of beauty and art. Benois said that Levitan "felt that Nature lives and praises the Creator," and no painting expresses this sentiment quite like “Above Eternal Peace”.





I. Levitan. “Above Eternal Peace”.

Oil on canvas, 150 x 206 cm. Tretiakov Gallery, Moscow


The composition of this painting is both aesthetically affective (with its irregularly shaped divisions of the picture plane and clear center of focus) and symbolically effective. While the graveyard (to the left of the church) may symbolize death, the church itself (as the focal point of the painting) seems to whisper that there is another way – a way to live – and this way is through Jesus and the divine plan God implemented through his birth, death, and resurrection. The still plane of water behind the church emphasizes this idea and the peace granted to those who accept it. This entire image asserts the strength of not so much the Russian Orthodox Church, but the beliefs it represents. In this way, and in the pride of countryside so beautiful and so lyrical, does this painting express the beliefs and aims of the Russian Revival of the late 19th century, and serve as a fine example of the "deeply poetic vision" Levitan achieved in his art.

2.17. Valentin Alexandrovich Serov (1865-1911)

One of the greatest Russian portrait painters, Serov was born on January 19, 1865, in the family of the composer A.N.Serov, author of the operas Judith, Rogneda, and the Evil Power. As a young boy, Serov might have met many luminaries of Russian culture of the time - Stasov, Repin, Ghe, Antokolsky - who visited his father. Unfortunately, when he was six, his father died, and Serov traveled with his widowed mother to Munich and later to Paris. In Paris, he attracted Repin's attention and started his art education under the master's tutelage. Impressed by the talent of the boy, Repin advised him to return to St.Petersburg and begin formal studies at the Academy of Fine Arts under the famous art teacher P.Chistiakov. Savva Mamontov invited financially destitute Serovs to live at his estate at Abramtsevo. Serov studied at the Academy from 1880 to 1885 and met Mikhail Vrubel there; the painters even shared an atelier. Even though the artist did not finish the Academy, he sufficiently perfected his skills to begin independent work.

He became famous after exhibiting “Girl with Peaches” (1887) and” Girl Lit by the Sun” (or “Girl in the Sunlight”), both considered to be among the greatest masterpieces of the Tretiyakov Gallery. The first canvas, a portrait of Savva Mamontov's daughter, Vera, brings to mind sunny and cheerful portraits by Renoir, but is probably more inspired by the colors of Repin's paintings, particularly “They Did not Expect Him”. In its colors and juxtaposition of light and shadow, the second canvas is also strongly influenced by Repin's works.

Initially a strong follower of the Wanderers and a supporter of the idea of utilitarian purpose of art, in 1890s Serov, following the example of his mentor, Repin, diasgreed with the Wanderers' “dictatorship” and imposition of standards on the young artists and left the Society; instead, he became close to the World of Art group, which allowed him to exhibit his paintings without interruptions even though he never subscribed to all points of the group's program. Popularity which Serov gained after showing his first two acclaimed portraits made him an artist in great demand. He painted almost 700 canvasses; including portraits of famous art maecenases, artists, actors and actresses, writers and poets, composers and singers, and politicians. Not surprisingly, the names of his sitters read as a who-is-who in Russian culture and politics of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century: Savva Mamontov (1890), Konstantin Korovin (1891), Ilya Repin (1892), Isaak Levitan (1893), Nikolai Rimskii-Korsakov (1898), Emperor Nicholas II (1900), Konstantin Pobedonostsev (1902), Anton Chekhov (1903), Sergei Witte (1904), Fiodor Shaliapin (1905), Konstantin Balmont (1905), Maksim Gorkii (1905), M.I.Ermolova (1905), E.L.Nobel (1909), Ivan Morozov (1910) and many others.


luminary - книжн. светило, светоч

under the master's tutelage - под покровительством мастера

tutelage - опекунство, попечительство

destitute - a. сильно нуждающийся

juxtaposition of light and shadow - наложение света и тени

utilitarian purpose of art - утилитарная (практичная) цель искусства

mentor - наставник, руководитель, ментор

to impose standards on smb - навязывать кому-либо стандарты

to subscribe to all points of the program - подписаться под всеми пунктами программы, зд быть согласным

to gain popularity - завоевать популярность

acclaim - шумно приветствовать

in great demand - быть в большом спросе, быть востребованным

maecenas - меценат


Translation Practice

Высшими достижениями раннего периода Серова являются портреты-картины “Девочка с персиками”(1887) и “Девушка, освещенная солнцем” (1888). В этих произведениях Серов, воспевая юность и красоту, передавая чувство счастья и радости бытия, видел главную свою задачу в непосредственности восприятия модели и природы и убедительности пластических истолкований. В разработке света и цвета, в передаче сложной гармонии рефлексов, в насыщении среды воздухом, в свежести живописного восприятия мира проявлялись черты раннего русского импрессионизма.

С начала 90-х гг. портрет стал основным жанром в творчестве Серова, приобретая новые черты: психологически заостренную характеристику человека и активно выявленное в нем артистическое начало. Излюбленными моделями Серова становятся артисты, художники, писатели … (БСЭ, т. 23,с.308-309)

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