Description of the picture:
On the mountains – Mikhail Vasilyevich Nesterov. 1896. Oil on canvas. 160 x 160 cm
The connection of man with nature, their unity and harmony – this sustainable theme runs a red thread through the entire work of Mikhail Vasilyevich Nesterov. To this duet consonance, he added his vision of “Russianness”, which was dictated by love for the motherland and faith in the special spiritual essence of Russia.
The painting “On the Mountains” is one of the “chapters” of Nesterov’s three-part cycle, which, in addition to the presented work, includes the paintings “The Great tonsure” and “On the Volga”. In all three paintings, a magical connection between a person and the environment is traced, and perhaps this is why the work cannot be read as a narrative plot – hidden meanings and hints are seen everywhere. These are deep thoughts expressed in a picture reminiscent of a serious lyrical poem, and maybe even a poem.
But let’s move on to the plot. On a dais (which is still high hills than mountains) is a Russian woman in a white patterned scarf with a bouquet of wildflowers in her hands. Behind the heroine, a magical landscape opens up to us: a narrow rivulet squeezed by high green shores, a field dotted with neat hay triangles, immense valleys extending beyond the horizon, a dense forest. The quintessential beauty of the Russian landscape.
But the heroine does not look at the beautiful view that opens below. Her gaze is set aside. She seems to be having an unhurried conversation with herself. There is no tragedy, but for some reason her personality is sympathetic. This subtle ability to convey the subtlest emotions in the figure of his hero is one of the distinguishing features of the painter Nesterov. And the viewer is trying to comprehend her mystery – why is she alone on the mountain, what is her soul suffering, what worries this beautiful statuesque girl?
It is known that the artist came up with the idea of the cycle after reading the works of Melnikov-Pechersky, telling about the life of the Old Believers. There is an assumption that the girl from the picture is going to leave for the monastery and came to say goodbye to the expanses that are dear to her heart, which will no longer appear before her gaze when she takes the tonsure."