Overview of the painting “Over the Eternal Peace,” Levitan, 1894

Overview of the painting “Over the Eternal Peace,” Levitan, 1894
Overview of the painting "Over the Eternal Peace," Levitan, 1894 - 1

  • Posted by Isaac Ilyich Levitan
  • Museum: Tretyakov Gallery
  • Year: 1894

Overview of the painting :

Above eternal peace – Levitan. 1894. Oil on canvas. 150×206

   Helplessness, fragility and defenselessness are the main feelings that every spectator has before this work of a great artist. Perhaps thanks to this particular picture, the name of the landscape master is so widely known not only among painting lovers…

   The author himself believed that this was his most successful work, revealing his worldview, his attitude. Lead clouds hung heavily over a steep coast. On a small cliff of a church, near a forgotten cemetery, a guest, the last refuge… Fragile trees bend under a strong wind, a thin, intermittent path leading to the church is a symbol of oblivion, abandonment, and myrtle.

   The surrounding cliff is breathed with power. It seems that another moment and the weather will disappear, the church will flutter around the world… Destruction seems inevitable.

   It is known that the artist wrote this work while listening to music. The solemn and sad sounds of Beethoven’s mourning march inspired the author and forced him to create a gloomy and almost tragic atmosphere of this work. The viewer hears the howling of the wind, feels the permeating cold, dampness, hears the hotbeds of a distant thunder.

   A deserted island is visible in the distance, which is rapidly “swimming” from a cliff. It seems that the island carries with it the souls of the dead, so that eternity absorbs the rest of the human spirit, the memories of departed people themselves.

   Human life is worthless, fleeting and meaningless… A huge space covered by the artist’s gaze presses the viewer. The viewer has a keen sense of loneliness and defenselessness before this eternal peace, which people fear even think about. The eternal question is what, beyond the threshold of eternity, torments the author, but he does not find an answer by providing this search to the viewer.

   The author created several sketches before starting the main work. These drafts are of undeniable value, as individual works. On the other hand, they make it possible to understand the path that the author went from the planned work to the embodiment of his idea. The master somewhat softened the tragedy of the landscape as a result of this path, while adding the relics of the natural element.

   The light in the work is distributed evenly, the shadows are practically absent. Using muffled tones, the master managed to masterly convey the very essence of the bad weather. His attention to small details makes the work unusually realistic and deep in content.

   In an amazing way, the whole power of the elements is opposed by a small dome of the church. It is directed strictly up, and its color, merging with the metal tones of the sky, creates a feeling of unshakableness and strength. The master, even in this work, could not do without optimistic hints. Only a firm Faith can help a person find peace and confidence in his goals and the meaning of his life. However, this optimistic statement is “encrypted” in the picture. Only the most inquiring spectators are able to discern in this petty detail the very essence of this iconic work of the artist.

   The picture was released at the time of the greatest flourishing of the artist’s talent. That is why his idea, philosophical depth, refined skill, with which this canvas is written, so impressed contemporaries and amaze descendants. The content of this picture will be relevant for all generations.

   Work in size is quite relevant to the monumental works of the author. And in essence, it is his spiritual testament, his creative program and the most complete philosophical attitude of the artist to the world and people. The work was admired by Russian poets and musicians. She served as an impetus for the creation of many musical and poetic works. And writers, both the beginning of the 20th century and modern ones, often include a description of this particular work to reveal the characters of their heroes, as well as to give the plot their works depth and content.