The Rooks Have Arrived

Alexei Kondratyevich Savrasov The Rooks Have Arrived 1871 oil on canvas 62 x 48.5 cm State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

Alexei Kondratyevich Savrasov

© 2008, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.


This painting, Savrasov’s most famous, is one of the best examples of poetic realism in landscape art. The artist painted this work in the village of Molvitino in the Kostroma region. The theme is very modest: Savrasov shows a dull spring day with some small curved birch trees, a tiny church badly in need of fresh paint, rooks heralding the spring with cawing, and dark earth beginning to show under the melting snow. The whole of nature is awaiting the renewal of life that comes with spring. Behind this thoroughly familiar corner of Central Russia is a vast panorama showing a flat valley and a river showing through the ice. The sunlight breaking through the cloud cover enlivens the whole landscape. This masterpiece of Russian painting introduces the theme of harmony between nature and the moods of man, a theme also depicted by Levitan in his country paintings, which show evidence of the painter’s emotions. Savrasov was one of the first to choose the path of artistic comprehension of reality. He was criticized by some who felt that his interpretation of painting was too prosaic. In fact, what he was attempting was to unite the “truth of life” and the “p Read More
This painting, Savrasov’s most famous, is one of the best examples of poetic realism in landscape art. The artist painted this work in the village of Molvitino in the Kostroma region. The theme is very modest: Savrasov shows a dull spring day with some small curved birch trees, a tiny church badly in need of fresh paint, rooks heralding the spring with cawing, and dark earth beginning to show under the melting snow. The whole of nature is awaiting the renewal of life that comes with spring. Behind this thoroughly familiar corner of Central Russia is a vast panorama showing a flat valley and a river showing through the ice. The sunlight breaking through the cloud cover enlivens the whole landscape. This masterpiece of Russian painting introduces the theme of harmony between nature and the moods of man, a theme also depicted by Levitan in his country paintings, which show evidence of the painter’s emotions. Savrasov was one of the first to choose the path of artistic comprehension of reality. He was criticized by some who felt that his interpretation of painting was too prosaic. In fact, what he was attempting was to unite the “truth of life” and the “poetry of art.”

Bibliography:
http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/Exhibitions/Horizons/En/bio-486.html

© 2008, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives

The learner will:
• Develop an understanding of the geographic influences on culture
• Understand that art can represent the experience of people
• Examine how major dominant European art movements influenced the interpretation of the landscape in Canadian and Russian painting
• Be aware of similarities and differences in landscape between Russia and Canada prior to 1940
• Appreciate the development of a distinctly Canadian style of landscape painting
• Respond critically to a variety of art styles both verbally and in writing

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