On the island of Valaam - Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi. 76x130 cm
In 1875, Arkhip Kuindzhi was married to a Greek woman, Vera Ketcherdzhi, and immediately after that they depart on a trip to Valaam. The choice of a place for the post-wedding voyage is not accidental, since the island in Lake Ladoga was a favorite place for all landscape painters in St. Petersburg. It was the turn of Kuindzhi to get acquainted with the beauties of a secluded land.
Immediately upon returning home, the painter began to work a lot, reproducing the impressions received. This is how the painting “On the Valaam Island” appeared, which from the very first exposition received enthusiastic responses, including from “comrades in the shop” (Repin, Kramskoy).
The painting depicts a bare rocky shore. Through the heavy earth, similar to granite, once pierced and now rise two thin trees - pine and birch. The repetition of this natural ensemble gives a special rhythm - two trees echo their copies: two more trees a little further, and more. This technique takes the viewer deeper into the picture, to the dark forest and gray horizon.
In the foreground - a winding ribbon of a river completely overgrown with sedge and flowing into a large lake. It is modestly represented here - Kuindzhi depicted only its edge on the right side of the canvas.
This whole multi-element, but rather empty landscape is illuminated by silver light, indicating either sunset or an inevitably approaching thunderstorm. This technique creates a mysterious, wary mood.
The sky is admirable. In the image of the sky with all its spectrum of color spills, Kuindzhi was an unsurpassed master. The lukewarm light-crimson color of the sky in the left corner of the canvas harmoniously flows into a deep bluish in the center to finally become dark gray and dense above the lake itself on the right side of the work.
The presented picture was the first purchased by the philanthropist Pavel Tretyakov, which, undoubtedly, indicated recognition of the talent of the young artist.