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How the famous painter Boris Kustodiev wrote a magnificent winter landscape "by ear"
How the famous painter Boris Kustodiev wrote a magnificent winter landscape "by ear"

Surely many will say that for a Russian person there is nothing more beautiful and nicer than the Russian winter. Therefore, we offer lovers of Russian painting to admire the winter landscapes of the famous master of Art Nouveau and Impressionism. Boris Kustodiev… Well, someone who, and Boris Mikhailovich knew a lot about Russian winter, every time he left a piece of his soul among his picturesque snow-white far away.

Boris Kustodiev. Self-portrait

, - Fyodor Chaliapin once wrote about his friend the artist Kustodiev. And for many it still remains a mystery how a painter, confined to a wheelchair, experiencing severe pain and suffering, sometimes living from hand to mouth, was able to create stunningly joyful, original and extremely vivid works.

"Portrait of Fyodor Chaliapin". 1922 year. Artist B. M. Kustodiev

Paradoxically, Kustodiev's love of life and outlook on life did not change at all with the illness. He did not become embittered, did not close in himself … Moreover, his painting, in spite of everything, became even brighter and more beautiful. Living with a feeling of overwhelming pain, he continued to exist in his world and write it - brightly, joyfully and festively. His palette was literally mixed with colors of joy, bright light and love of life.

Probably, it was the love for life, for Russia, for the only woman who became the support and support for the artist that gave him strength. You can read more about the great power of love in the review: Favorite woman of Boris Kustodiev, in whose name he overcame hellish pain and created his best works.

"Pancake week". 1920 year. Artist B. M. Kustodiev

You begin to look at the master's paintings in a very special way when you pay attention to the dating of most of his best paintings. And this, just think, the revolutionary years, the years of the civil war, the hunger strike (in Petrograd it raged especially), the formation of Soviet power, when the country was literally in a fever from destructive and creative changes. It was at this time that in his cold Leningrad apartment the artist created amazing pictorial masterpieces that were included in the golden fund of world art.

Boris Kustodiev's endless Russian winter - bright, dynamic, life-affirming

"Pancake week". 1919 year. Artist B. M. Kustodiev

The nature and folk traditions of Russia were the ideological inspirers of the artist. Kustodiev admired the harsh snowy winters and the festive rites of the common people. In his numerous canvases dedicated to this most magical time of the year, as well as Maslenitsa and other festivities, Kustodiev certainly emphasized the dizzying whirlwind of emotions in which all his characters were involved. He seemed to pull out moments from the seething life and skillfully overlay them on his canvases.

Kustodiev did not paint pure landscapes, his landscapes have always been subject, with a huge number of different characters. It is also worth noting that the most striking element that creates the impression of dynamic movement, he almost always used the irresistibly rushing troika - a symbol of Russian originality.

"Winter". 1916 year. Artist B. M. Kustodiev

The artist's canvases are so decorative in their color and compositional construction that they resemble outlandish painted boxes or splints. It is also surprising that most of the master's works were written from memory or imagination. Although in the life of Boris Mikhailovich there was also a painting that he created "by ear".

Skiers (1919)

"Skiers". 1919 year. Artist B. M. Kustodiev

In 1919, Kustodiev created the painting "Skiers", on which he depicted what he had not actually seen.The artist could not see with his own eyes this wonderful panorama, which appears to our gaze, since by that time he could hardly move in a wheelchair, and was extremely rare on the street.

"Skiers". Fragment

His daughter Irina became the main inspiration and eyes of the artist. Once returning from a ski trip from the countryside, where she went with her friends, she, joyful, flushed, with such inspiration and eloquence told her father about what indescribable beauty she had seen. About how they rode down the mountains, how wonderful the frosty sky was, what magnificent open spaces opened up, how in clouds of smoke and steam a steam locomotive rushed along the vast snow-covered distance …

"Skiers". Fragment

Kustodiev, literally infected with his daughter's story, immediately took up his brush and painted an amazing picture. Moreover, he wrote solely out of the joy he heard and the unforgettable impressions of the narrator. As it turned out, this was quite enough for a talented artist. The created work turned out to be very realistic and impressive, completely unlike other winter works of the master, where merry festivities reigned, a festive mood, where the bright life of the people was in full swing among the city streets, swept by snowdrifts.

"Freezing day". (1913)

"Freezing day". 1913 year. Artist B. M. Kustodiev

The provincial town is covered with snow. A sleigh, in which young ladies are sitting, rushes along the street, an overweight cabman drives the horse, and the janitor waves monotonously with a broom. The neat little houses are reminiscent of toys, and the sun's rays paint the snow cover and clouds of smoke a pinkish hue. The author turned an ordinary scene into a holiday with a bright colorful palette. Under his brush, the current winter day has acquired vigor and brilliance.

Pancake week

"Pancake week". Fragment. Artist B. M. Kustodiev

The artist reflected the theme of Maslenitsa in his works many times, moreover, in different years, interpreting it a little differently, but leaving the same essence. Shrovetide is a wide, colorful, riotous and delicious holiday.

"Winter. Shrovetide festivities”. Artist B. M. Kustodiev

The paintings depict a clear frosty day. The landscape background of folk festivals is so colorful and beautiful that it seems like a holiday is in the air. Snowdrifts, lit by the low February sun, literally sparkle with their whiteness, and trees covered with a thick layer of frost resemble a festive fireworks display. Truly true beauty of the Russian winter, which will not leave anyone indifferent.

Although at first glance, many may think that nature is not so real. The colors are too bright and unnatural, as for a winter landscape. But in these pictures the whole Kustodiev. This is how he saw the winter Russian nature of villages and cities. It was this wonderful world that he closed in time and space.

"Pancake week". Fragment. Artist B. M. Kustodiev

The people themselves, who threw out into the streets, were joyful and cheerful. People of all classes can be seen here.

"Balagany" (1917)

"Balagany" (1917). Artist B. M. Kustodiev

Balagan is an indispensable attribute of Russian folk festivals on Maslenitsa. As the brightest example of folk art, he is the main source of inspiration for the artist. And around it is winter, the trees are shrouded in dazzling frost. Freezing. Spring is not coming soon …

"Pancake week". Fragment. Artist B. M. Kustodiev

This work was created in 1917. There were no Shrovetide festivities in the realities of Russia, there were no merry booths. Everyone has sunk into oblivion. And the picture is a memory of another, lost life. Even in the most joyful paintings by Kustodiev, there is nostalgia for the outgoing Russia. He painted that Russia, which had already disappeared, and he did not have time to recognize the new one, since the whole world for the artist was enclosed by the view from the windows of his apartment.

"Winter. Shrovetide festivities”. Artist B. M. Kustodiev

Continuing the topic of St. Petersburg painters, read the review: Petersburg landscapes of the modern impressionist Pavel Eskov: a city bursting with rainstorms.

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