Russian Realism: Levitan’s Above the Eternal Peace

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Peredvizhniki, or The Wanderers, was an artistic movement of Russian Realism that focused on illustrating the realities of humanity through the exposure of daily life in the mid to late 19th century. The above painting is Isaac Il’ich Levitan’s Above the Eternal Peace (1894) is a perfect example of the Realism movement trending in Russia at the time. One can see a church in the foreground of the painting with a cemetery flanking the building. The awe inspiring setting in the background gives the impression of the endless nature of Earth, and the tranquil water adds to the theme of space and freedom present in this work of art. The graveyard may represent death or something sinister, but the image of the church seems to imply a sense of hope or life as it faces out towards the rest of the land. Scholars suggest that the power of the Russian Orthodox Church is less portrayed here than the underlying beliefs represented by the institution. True to form in artwork from The Wanderers, this painting invokes a sense of national pride and appreciation for Russian nature.

I distinctly admire the coloring of the painting. While some may view the grey and blue colors as gloomy, I can appreciate the natural, true picture the artist was able to capture. In my opinion, the “real” portrayal of Russian countryside makes this painting all the more impressive and beautiful.

Additional Sources:

King: Isaak Levitan. Lirical Landscape, Philipp Wilson Publisheres Ltd., London, 2006.

“Isaac Levitan. Above the Eternal Peace.” Tanais Gallery. 30 August 2015. <http://www.tanais.info/art/en/levitan97more.html>.

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