“Hemmerfest. Northern Lights ”, Konstantin Korovin – overview of the painting

“Hemmerfest. Northern Lights ”, Konstantin Korovin – overview of the painting
"Hemmerfest. Northern Lights ”, Konstantin Korovin - overview of the painting - 1

  • Posted by Konstantin Korovin
  • Museum: Tretyakov Gallery
  • Year: 1894-1895

Overview of the painting :

Gemmerfest. Northern Lights – Konstantin Alekseevich Korovin. 1894-1895. Oil on canvas. 175.6 x 106.7 cm

   This picture was created during Korovin’s trip to the Nordic countries along with other talented artist Valentin Serov. The trip of Savva Mamontov subsidized and covered both the Russian North and the Scandinavian countries. The canvas was created in the Norwegian city of Hammerfest, considered one of the closest to the North Pole.

   The picture was captured by a provincial city landscape against the backdrop of an amazing miracle of nature – the flashes of the northern lights. The legendary “Aurora Borealis” was supposed to amaze the artist’s imagination, the work of which was greatly influenced by French impressionists.

   When viewed from afar, the picture seems to be made in restrained muffled colors, but when carefully considered, it turns out that all of it literally translates into many small multi-colored smears. In this way, the artist exceptionally successfully conveyed the impression of the northern sea city in the dark. The embankment with sailing boats and houses on the shore is illuminated only by the meager yellow lights of the lamps. But everything around is literally flooded with the cold ghostly light of the northern lights. It turns the dark sky into a real scene of a wonderful performance that Nature herself creates.

   Even by texture, the northern lights are different from the rest of the canvas, made either in small and fractional, or in large iridescent colored strokes. The glow of the sky is distinguished by greenish, blue and lemon, it seems very deep and at the same time airy. The image is made with long and short vertical strokes, which further enhances the play of light and color.

   The northern lights act as a kind of background of the entire image, attracting a look, but not “touching” it completely on itself. The picture shows a bay with houses located on the left and directly opposite the viewer. In the foreground is a fishing boat with folded sails and a high thin mast. It is written in large spectacular strokes, in which there are many different shades of color.

   Behind the boat along the entire building on the left there are many other boats belonging to local fishermen, and in the background, sharp black vertical lines are visible against the background of houses melting in the haze. These are the masts of many boats standing on the joke and waiting for access to the sea.

   This picture is a real triumph of impressionistic traditions and the embodiment of a momentary sensation that left the artist a luxurious northern lights.