Evening in St. Petersburg, Vasily Ivanovich Surikov – overview

Evening in St. Petersburg, Vasily Ivanovich Surikov – overview
Evening in St. Petersburg, Vasily Ivanovich Surikov - overview - 1

  • Posted by Vasily Ivanovich Surikov
  • Museum: Tretyakov Gallery
  • Year: 1871

Overview of the painting :

Evening in St. Petersburg – Vasily Ivanovich Surikov. 1871. Watercolor on paper. 13 x 22 cm

   The light watercolor airiness of the picture perfectly matches the depicted time of day. Thanks to the writing technique, the shadows seem transparent, as is the case on cool evenings, and the contours of objects and the outlines of the figures are softly blurry, somewhat formless, as if smoothed by a stream of cold, humid St. Petersburg air.

   The volume and special feeling of coolness is emphasized by the weak, pale radiance of the dazzling white full moon and the piercing artificial light of the lanterns along the avenue.

   Naked trees and the stems in the shadow of the contour of buildings are poorly read in the background, distinguished only by a recognizable contour of a massive dome with the tower of St. Isaac’s Cathedral.

   A nesting horse, harnessed to the lungs of the sled, is abruptly running along a snowy road. A passenger is sitting in them, covered with a bearish cavity, and a chariot in a hidden caftan rules the sled. Along the wall slides the young lady in a scarlet skirt, merging with her own transparent shadow.

   But the part of the canvas closest to the viewer displays representatives of a completely different class – the worker. Near the counter with a burning pendant, simple people gathered – a janitor in a white apron, two unfortunate beggars and a beggar boy. Their figures are made in an inattentive brownish-gray range and are clearly distanced from other representatives of the then society. Other heroes of the picture are painted with brighter and fresher colors, located as if on the other side of the street, away from commoners.

   The transparency of the colors of the picture helps to convey the ringing purity, the depth of cold winter air, the special colors of the evening and the brightness of the light – natural and artificial. This genre picture is like greetings from a long-dead in the stream of life time, the memory of one person, captured by light watercolors.