Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi, The North

In The North, Kuindzhi depicts an epic image of a cold country, constructing an impressive panorama of inhospitable northern expanses with no trace of human presence. In his efforts to depict a space that is characterized by coherence and totality, the artist places a few solitary pines in the foreground, their roots descending into the entrails of hard earth. In doing so, the painter creates the impression of depth in the composition and strengthens the impression of a harsh and unwelcoming country. Here, the pines must claw bravely into naked earth on the edge of a cliff in their attempt to draw strength from a distant sun. Lighting always plays a very important role in Kuindzhi’s landscapes; in this painting he uses the mysterious luminosity of the nordic day. The light of the sky, in shimmering pinks and lilacs, evokes the fact that this virgin land is ancient, a place where time flows so slowly that its fixity leads us to think about the elusive nature of the universe.
Canadian Heritage Information Network
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

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