Description of the picture:
Golden Autumn – Vasily Dmitrievich Polenov. 1893. Oil on canvas. 77×124 cm
A born landscape painter, Vasily Dmitrievich Polenov, made a huge contribution to the development and evolution of this genre. The wonderful painting “Golden Autumn” refers to the second period of the landscape work of the painter. The thing is that all landscape works of Polenov critics are divided into two stages – until the mid-1880s and after.
Fascinated by the landscape in France, on a creative expedition that Polenov conducted with Ilya Repin, the master in his first works demonstrated an individual approach to this genre – the broadest plein air, freshness, color saturation, naturalness, a clear, clear picture and well-tuned composition. Later, the author abandoned the deliberate task, creating poetic masterpieces full of love for nature and admiration for the surrounding world. Such is the painting “Golden Autumn”, written in 1893.
Why is this picture so attractive even after more than a hundred years from the moment of creation? Perhaps the answer to this question lies in the personal preferences of the author. As you know, autumn was the favorite time of the year for Polenov, and the author had a special relationship with the Oka, which is shown in the picture – the author lived on the banks of this river for more than twenty years, without ceasing to admire and admire it. Back in 1890, the artist moved to the Borok estate in the village of Bykhovo, and three years later this picture will appear.
The composition of the picture is subordinate to the geometric line – space is organized using an arc. Such an arcuate image of the river is a characteristic Polenovsky technique that forms the composition. The author abandoned the usual comparison of two plans, the far and the front, leaving only wide scope. The viewer imagines himself standing on the top of a hill, and from this point in front of him helpfully extends a magnificent colorful September landscape. Moreover, local residents easily recognized this place – the master depicted everything truthfully and realistically. A view of the Oka River opens from the opposite side of the Spectacle Mountains, and in the upper right corner you can see a white bell tower gleaming in the sun.
A wide panoramic turn does not immediately “reveal” all the maps – rather, our eyes follow the river, rushing farther and farther, deeper into the picture. Submitting to the intricate trajectory set by the author, the viewer gradually comprehends all the charms of the opening view, which shows us the riot and variety of autumn colors.
For all its richness and diversity, the color of the picture is surprisingly harmonious. The “multi-colored” autumn itself finds a talented poetic fulfillment within the framework of the canvas, thanks to the author’s ingenious instinct. The main color is yellow in all its tonal variations: from soft ocher to solemn gold. Yellow birches surround the river in orderly rows, but the dark green foliage of some other tree with spreading branches peers through their thick, catchy outfit. Most likely, this is an oak tree that has not yet been touched, autumn color has not been painted, and it still bears the echo of irrevocably passing summer. The ocher color is diluted with young green fir-trees, which are planted unevenly in an open meadow along the beaten path, and a gentle sandy beach on the opposite side of the river.
The noble juxtaposition of yellow and green is brightened with blue color. It is in the bend of the Oka River, and in the sky, covered with small islands of lush clouds, and in a thin smoky horizon line, giving the picture airiness, weightlessness.
The sky in this work deserves special attention and detailed analysis. The artist was able to “catch” all the shades here and convey their flicker – from the gray tones of the clouds to the light blueness of the sky and the pink lines born from the reflections of the sun. All this is subordinated to its rhythm, and it seems that the sky is devoid of statics, and right now the eyes will begin to notice a smooth movement.
The image of the surface of the river is also interesting. The mirror ribbed surface was able to absorb all the colors of the canvas. Here is the noble blue of the river itself, and the reflection of the yellow leaves of the trees, and the duplication of the sky, which thereby “rings” the composition.
Polenov was known as the creator of precisely the “intimate” landscape, in the notion that all the natural beauty that opens in his paintings is somehow close to the heart, dear and understandable. It seems that any spectator, looking at Polenov’s work, will remember his story – everyone, for sure, had his own favorite sloping shore, a birch grove, a dusty path trampled by riders, a yellowed meadow, a village church, such a sunny day that we carefully store in the shower.
It is this warm feeling that is born from the contemplation of Polenov’s landscapes that makes his work so attractive and even mesmerizing. And also the unconditional genius of the painter Polenov and his sincere boundless love for the Russian land."