Since the Renaissance, Italy has been a magnet and preferred destination for artists, but in the second half of the nineteenth century, Paris had gained much appeal. The French capital became a meeting place for many foreign artists, who were genuinely fascinated with its dynamism.

At the end of the nineteenth century, interest in travel was not limited to Paris. In their quest for new experiences and new subjects, artists also travelled around the French countryside, and frequently went beyond the borders of France. The picturesque landscape remained a central concern to some painters, while others, discovering new and different lifestyles, cultures, geographies and quality of light, painted new perspectives.

The coasts of Brittany, as well as Venice, Italy and Spain attracted many Canadian artists. Some even ventured as far as North Africa (Tunisia and Morocco), or the Caribbean. Russian artists also moved in the art circles of Paris, and travelled throughout France and Italy, but it was the East that particularly captivated them.

Since the Renaissance, Italy has been a magnet and preferred destination for artists, but in the second half of the nineteenth century, Paris had gained much appeal. The French capital became a meeting place for many foreign artists, who were genuinely fascinated with its dynamism.

At the end of the nineteenth century, interest in travel was not limited to Paris. In their quest for new experiences and new subjects, artists also travelled around the French countryside, and frequently went beyond the borders of France. The picturesque landscape remained a central concern to some painters, while others, discovering new and different lifestyles, cultures, geographies and quality of light, painted new perspectives.

The coasts of Brittany, as well as Venice, Italy and Spain attracted many Canadian artists. Some even ventured as far as North Africa (Tunisia and Morocco), or the Caribbean. Russian artists also moved in the art circles of Paris, and travelled throughout France and Italy, but it was the East that particularly captivated them.

© 2003, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Alexander Davidovich Drevin

Valley of the Charysh River, by Alexander Davidovich Drevin, 1930.

Alexander Davidovich Drevin
1930
oil on canvas
59 x 70 cm
© State Art Museum of Altayskiy Region.


Drevin painted this landscape during a trip to the Altai steppes, accompanied by Nadezhda Udaltsova. This trip was very important for his work, making it possible for him to understand what it was that he felt was the essence of painting, namely that the object of artistic representation resides not only in the outside world, but also in the painter’s soul. The outline of the figures, the perspective of the path disappearing in the distance, the massive mountains on both sides of the road, all combined with a blindingly white sun, splashes of red light in a yellow sky, contribute to the expressiveness of the work. The light cutting through the space of the canvas makes it almost palpable; it becomes clear that the painting was the incarnation of the painter’s deeply felt personal emotions felt. In his autobiography, the artist said, “It is the picturesqueness of the vast spaces of the Altai that primarily influenced me; the extraordinary power of its light transformed my painting.”

Alexander Davidovich Drevin

Drevin painted this landscape during a trip to the Altai steppes, accompanied by Nadezhda Udaltsova. This trip was very important for his work, making it possible for him to understand what it was that he felt was the essence of painting, namely that the object of artistic representation resides not only in the outside world, but also in the painter’s soul. The outline of the figures, the perspective of the path disappearing in the distance, the massive mountains on both sides of the road, all combined with a blindingly white sun, splashes of red light in a yellow sky, contribute to the expressiveness of the work. The light cutting through the space of the canvas makes it almost palpable; it becomes clear that the painting was the incarnation of the painter’s deeply felt personal emotions felt. In his autobiography, the artist said, “It is the picturesqueness of the vast spaces of the Altai that primarily influenced me; the extraordinary power of its light transformed my painting.”

Alexander Davidovich Drevin


© 2003, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Boris Fyodorovich Rybchenkov

Buryatia, Landscape With Mountain, by Boris Fyodorovich Rybchenkov, 1932.

Boris Fyodorovich Rybchenkov
1932
oil on canvas
56 x 64.5 cm
© State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.


Rybchenkov’s painting Buryatia, Landscape with Mountain, as well as his other paintings of the Buryatia, Landscape With Mountain series, are directly linked to the Altai cycle of Alexander Drevin. Rybchenkov exhibited some of his paintings in all the Group of Thirteen exhibitions; the supple and fluid space of his works, the free play of colour and the extremely limited number of forms of expression used are also reminiscent of the French artists Marquet and Vlaminck. The almost monochromatic range of colours is characterized by a large number of transitions from one hue to another, particularly in the representation of the mountain, whose silhouette is not unlike that of an enormous whale. The cart in the foreground adds a human dimension to this almost cosmic landscape.

Boris Fyodorovich Rybchenkov

Rybchenkov’s painting Buryatia, Landscape with Mountain, as well as his other paintings of the Buryatia, Landscape With Mountain series, are directly linked to the Altai cycle of Alexander Drevin. Rybchenkov exhibited some of his paintings in all the Group of Thirteen exhibitions; the supple and fluid space of his works, the free play of colour and the extremely limited number of forms of expression used are also reminiscent of the French artists Marquet and Vlaminck. The almost monochromatic range of colours is characterized by a large number of transitions from one hue to another, particularly in the representation of the mountain, whose silhouette is not unlike that of an enormous whale. The cart in the foreground adds a human dimension to this almost cosmic landscape.

Boris Fyodorovich Rybchenkov


© 2003, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Pavel Ivanovich Basmanov

Strolling in the Steppe, by Pavel Ivanovich Basmanov, 1933.

Pavel Ivanovich Basmanov
1933
watercolor on primed paper
17.2 x 24.2 cm
© State Art Museum of Altayskiy Region.


This work is part of the Basmanov “Promenades” collection. The manner in which the artist ignores proportion, a balance in the dimensions of Sky, Steppe and Man, along with the high angle point of view, and the avoidance of any indications of time, generate an impression of the cosmic unity of the world. The play of colour creates harmony between nature and man. The range of delicate hues in this watercolour, executed with a brush, is reminiscent of a fresco from the Middle Ages, and the brightly coloured earth reminds us of medieval iconography. The elongated silhouettes in the foreground, and the pure and austere hues used for the clothing and the luminous inspirational faces, are in the iconic tradition. The range of colours used to represent the boy and his mother is very symbolic: the scarlet clothes of the women are the colour of blood in a sacrifice; the white and gold that symbolize divine light are introduced into the watercolour by the boy’s white shirt and small halo-shaped yellow hat. Basmanov’s pictorial realism paradoxically combines iconographic traditions and a post-supremacist contemporary quest.

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This work is part of the Basmanov “Promenades” collection. The manner in which the artist ignores proportion, a balance in the dimensions of Sky, Steppe and Man, along with the high angle point of view, and the avoidance of any indications of time, generate an impression of the cosmic unity of the world. The play of colour creates harmony between nature and man. The range of delicate hues in this watercolour, executed with a brush, is reminiscent of a fresco from the Middle Ages, and the brightly coloured earth reminds us of medieval iconography. The elongated silhouettes in the foreground, and the pure and austere hues used for the clothing and the luminous inspirational faces, are in the iconic tradition. The range of colours used to represent the boy and his mother is very symbolic: the scarlet clothes of the women are the colour of blood in a sacrifice; the white and gold that symbolize divine light are introduced into the watercolour by the boy’s white shirt and small halo-shaped yellow hat. Basmanov’s pictorial realism paradoxically combines iconographic traditions and a post-supremacist contemporary quest.

Pavel Ivanovich Basmanov


© 2003, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Nadezhda Andreyevna Udaltsova

Landscape With Figures, Armenia, by Nadezhda Andreyevna Udaltsova, 1933.

Nadezhda Andreyevna Udaltsova
1933
oil on canvas
52 x 65 cm
© State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.


Nadezhda Udaltsova was one of the most famous women of the Russian artistic avant-garde of the 1910s and 1920s. In the 1930s, she became a member of the Group of Thirteen; her paintings, like those of the other members of the group, were predominantly based on individual perception and the value of personal vision rather than an avant-garde reaching towards the outside, with further emphasis on intense impregnation by the outside world and its condensation leading to the painting itself. Udaltsova travelled in the Altai region (1930) and Armenia (1933–1934), with her husband, Alexander Drevin. Her Altai and Armenian cycles were the result of these new impressions. At the time Udaltsova “sketched nature with only a few strokes” before painting the canvasses. As the artist herself wrote, during these years, she “attempted to resolve...the problems of painting...by relying on her dual experience of work on abstract representation and the representation of actual nature.” This shows that she had achieved a synthesis of her formal efforts during the Cubist and Suprematist periods and her new vision of nature.

Read More

Nadezhda Udaltsova was one of the most famous women of the Russian artistic avant-garde of the 1910s and 1920s. In the 1930s, she became a member of the Group of Thirteen; her paintings, like those of the other members of the group, were predominantly based on individual perception and the value of personal vision rather than an avant-garde reaching towards the outside, with further emphasis on intense impregnation by the outside world and its condensation leading to the painting itself. Udaltsova travelled in the Altai region (1930) and Armenia (1933–1934), with her husband, Alexander Drevin. Her Altai and Armenian cycles were the result of these new impressions. At the time Udaltsova “sketched nature with only a few strokes” before painting the canvasses. As the artist herself wrote, during these years, she “attempted to resolve...the problems of painting...by relying on her dual experience of work on abstract representation and the representation of actual nature.” This shows that she had achieved a synthesis of her formal efforts during the Cubist and Suprematist periods and her new vision of nature.

Nadezhda Andreyevna Udaltsova


© 2003, 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 Russian painting
  • Be aware of similarities and differences in landscape painting between Russia and Canada prior to 1940
  • Appreciate the development of a distinctly Russian style of landscape painting
  • Respond critically to a variety of art styles
  • Recognize the emotional impact of art

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