Isaak Levitan - no sun peeking from behind the clouds, as...

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Isaak Levitan: The Vladimirka Road (1892) Oil on canvas, 79 x 123 cm. Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow. Levitan often combined his realistic vision with a strong message. In this case, the desolation of the landscape echoes the message conveyed by the road itself. The Vladimirka road is the road taken by the exiles to reach Siberia. Levitan was probably making reference to his own exile, which occurred in the same period. Like many political prisoners, he had been evicted from Moscow because he was Jewish, and this experience would leave a profound mark on the painter's soul. The sky and the fields are all part of the symbolic message that Levitan wants to render through his painting. Colors are dull and rather unattractive. Levitan chooses browns and dull greens so that nothing would stand out; the sky is blue-gray, cloudy, and unforgiving. There is
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Unformatted text preview: no sun peeking from behind the clouds, as if the painter wanted to say that there is little hope for those who would take that road. The landscape is flat and, with the exception of the trees in the background, has no other vegetation except some sparse yellowish grass. The road appears to have no end. Perhaps Levitan is trying to say that the prisoners are forever itinerants or that Russia is so vast that human beings "vanish" in its unlimited space. There are no human figures, which seems to be a characteristic feature of realistic landscapes of other painters (Shishkin, for instance) and of Levitan himself. Actually, the tendency to "de-humanize" compositions by excluding human figures would be a recurrent feature in Levitan's work....
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This note was uploaded on 11/05/2011 for the course ARH ARH2000 taught by Professor Karenroberts during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.

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