“On the Mountains”, Mikhail Vasilievich Nesterov – overview of the painting

“On the Mountains”, Mikhail Vasilievich Nesterov – overview of the painting
"On the Mountains", Mikhail Vasilievich Nesterov - overview of the painting - 1

    • Posted by Mikhail Vasilievich Nesterov
    • Museum: Kiev National Museum of Russian Art
    • Year: 1896

Overview of the painting :

On the mountains – Mikhail Vasilievich Nesterov. 1896. Oil on canvas. 160 x 160 cm

The connection of man with nature, their unity and harmony – this stable theme passes through the whole work of Mikhail Vasilievich Nesterov. In this duet consonance, he added his vision of “Russianness”, which was dictated by love for the motherland and faith in the special spiritual essence of Russia.

The painting “On the Mountains” is one of the “heads” of the Nesterov’s three-part cycle, where, in addition to the presented work, the paintings “Great Shore” and “On the Volga” entered. In all three paintings, the magical connection of man and the environment is traced, and perhaps therefore the work cannot be read as a narrative plot – hidden meanings and hints are visible everywhere. These are deep thoughts expressed in a picture resembling a serious lyrical poem, or maybe even a poem.

But let’s move on to the plot. On the rise (and these are still high hills than mountains) there is a Russian woman in a white patterned scarf with a bouquet of field flowers in her hands. Behind the heroine, a magical landscape opens up for us: a narrow little river, squeezed by high green shores, a field dotted with neat triangles of hay, immense valleys leaving for the horizon, a dense forest. The beauty of the Russian landscape.

But the heroine does not look at the beautiful view that opens below. Her look is set aside. She seems to be having a leisurely conversation with herself. There is no tragedy, but for some reason her personality evokes sympathy. This subtle ability to convey the finest emotions in the figure of his hero is one of the distinguishing features of the painter Nesterov. And the viewer is trying to comprehend her riddle – why she stands alone on the mountain, than her soul suffers, which worries this beautiful statnoy girl?

It is known that the idea of the cycle arose in the artist after reading the works of Melnikov-Pechersky, telling about the life of the Old Believers. There is an assumption that the girl from the picture is going to go to the monastery and came to say goodbye to her heart open spaces that will no longer appear before her eyes when she takes a tonsure.