Boris Ivanovich Lebedinsky, The Tale of Baikal

The flora and fauna around Lake Baikal are profuse and varied. To the west, the lake is surrounded by tall mountains of up to 2,000 metres; the base of the mountains is covered in pines and their steep slopes are dotted with dark cedars. Travellers to the region from the mid 17th century until the 19th century have written about it. “Lake Baikal is replete with striking charms; it elicits in every one of us something mysterious and marvellous, and evokes in our souls feelings of fear and apprehension,” (B.I. Dybovsky). Lebedinsky carried this book with him for many years, beginning in the 1910s, when he visited Lake Baikal for the first time. The painting was preceded by many studies and sketches, as well as some other completed canvasses. Throughout all these years, he attempted to suggest the mythical origins of Lake Baikal, intending to present the geographical reality as if it were impregnated with the legend of the divine genesis of the lake. The bird’s-eye view allows the viewer to discover, in the middle of the austere taiga, the calm and majestic surface of Lake Baikal, with its crystal-clear sandy coves.
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Irkutsk Regional Art Museum named after V. P. Sukachev

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