10 masterpieces by Arkhip Kuindzhi, the creator of hypnotic landscapes

10 masterpieces by Arkhip Kuindzhi, the creator of hypnotic landscapes

Categories: Art | Beauty | Exhibition | Nature

Kuindzhi's works are often called "magic" and "alchemy", and he himself was a researcher of metaphysics and a predecessor of impressionism.

Autumn 1880. The St. Petersburg Society speaks of an unprecedented event: an exhibition of just one painting. This has never happened before in Russia, and the queue of people outside the building of the Imperial Society for the Encouragement of Arts stretches for several blocks.

Everyone wants to see the new picturesque seascape "Moonlit Night on the Dnieper", for which the Grand Duke Konstantin Romanov paid a fabulous sum even before its completion. Meanwhile, its creator Arkhip Kuindzhi uses a marketing ploy: he closes all the windows in the room with curtains and shows a picture in the dark, directing a single ray of electric light at it. The effect is amazing. Viewers do not believe that such a "phosphoric" glow of moonlight on the water surface can be achieved using ordinary paints.

Kuindzhi is called a hoaxer and is accused of using hidden lighting. But of course, there is no backlight.

10 PHOTOS

10 masterpieces by Arkhip Kuindzhi, the creator of hypnotic landscapes

1. Moonlit night on the Dnieper, 1880

Kuindzhi painted his most famous works shortly after parting with the Itinerants (a group of realist artists who opposed academism in art). And he managed to sell it to the Grand Duke even before the completion of the canvas: the writer Ivan Turgenev was so delighted with the work that he persuaded the prince to buy it. The latter even took it with him on trips: "Night" was exhibited for several days at the Zedelmeyer Gallery in Paris. There are several versions of the painting made by the artist when he realized the extent of his own popularity.

10 masterpieces by Arkhip Kuindzhi, the creator of hypnotic landscapes

2. Birch grove, 1879

"Birch Grove" was written a year before "Moonlit Night on the Dnieper", but already fully demonstrates Kuindzhi's main stylistic principle - spectacular chiaroscuro. Then the public became suspicious of the use of optical techniques, which provoked a scandal.

10 masterpieces by Arkhip Kuindzhi, the creator of hypnotic landscapes

3. On the island of Valaam, 1873

Kuindzhi regularly visited the island of Valaam in Karelia, a favorite place for Petersburg landscape painters. This painting, bought by the collector and founder of the Tretyakov Gallery, Pavel Tretyakov, marks the beginning of his fame as a serious artist. The style of the Itinerants is clearly traced - deliberate realism was very much appreciated by contemporaries.

10 masterpieces by Arkhip Kuindzhi, the creator of hypnotic landscapes

4. Evening in the Ukraine in 1878 (completed in 1901).

The artist has worked on this painting for a total of 23 years. And 20 of them he spent in a voluntary retreat, during which Kuindzhi did not show his work to anyone, even to friends and family. It is not known for certain what silenced him at the height of his fame, but many then believed that he was tired of the constant hype and criticism. The Evenings in Ukraine exhibition and three more paintings broke the silence.

10 masterpieces by Arkhip Kuindzhi, the creator of hypnotic landscapes

5. The sea. Crimea, 1898-1908

Kuindzhi is closely associated with Crimea, to which dozens of his works are dedicated. It was here that the future artist came in his youth, deciding to develop his passion for drawing: he was recommended as a student to the famous seascape painter Ivan Aivazovsky, who lived in the Crimean seaside town of Feodosia. True, the great Aivazovsky spared no time but gave Kuindzhi a letter of recommendation. Already being a famous artist, Kuindzhi painted the "immersive, meditative" Sea. Crimea, where the coastline of Crimea is painted in rich colors.

10 masterpieces by Arkhip Kuindzhi, the creator of hypnotic landscapes

6. Ai-Petri. Crimea, 1890

Another of his Crimean landscape is dedicated to Ai-Petri, a mountain range near Yalta and one of the symbols of the peninsula. In 2019, this painting was stolen from the Tretyakov Gallery in broad daylight in front of dozens of visitors. The man in the overalls just walked over to the canvas, took it off the wall, took it out of the frame, and went out with it. Everyone was fooled by the thief's coolness: people sincerely believed that he was a museum employee. The next day he was detained, and the painting was returned to the museum.

10 masterpieces by Arkhip Kuindzhi, the creator of hypnotic landscapes

7. Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, 1901.

This is one of four paintings that Kuindzhi decided to show after his "silence". This is perhaps the most philosophical and mysterious work of the artist and the only work on a biblical theme. But, as in all his work, the focus is not on the subject, but on light and color. Through him, without going into complex details, the artist reveals the drama of the situation. The moonlit figure of Christ bursts out of the darkness, the effect strongly resembles a Moonlit Night on the Dnieper.

10 masterpieces by Arkhip Kuindzhi, the creator of hypnotic landscapes

8. After the rain, 1879

The bright, temperamental contrast of thunderclouds with the silence and tranquility of the meadow accurately conveys the light atmosphere that arises after a downpour.

10 masterpieces by Arkhip Kuindzhi, the creator of hypnotic landscapes

9. Landscape. Steppe, 1890-1895

Art critics note that his landscapes evoke almost sound and sensual associations in the viewer: whether it be a light morning wind, wet grass or thin air after a thunderstorm.

10 masterpieces by Arkhip Kuindzhi, the creator of hypnotic landscapes

10. Red Sunset, 1898-1908

One of the last great works of Kuindzhi. According to critics, the artist appears in this picture as a pagan sun worshiper. The canvas had a difficult fate: it was resold several times before it ended up in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Keywords: Masterpieces | Impressionism | Art | Artist | Paintings | Drawings | Works | Artworks | Hypnotic landscapes | Beauty

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