Painting “Babushkin Garden”, Vasily Polenov – description

Painting “Babushkin Garden”, Vasily Polenov – description
Painting "Babushkin Garden", Vasily Polenov - description - 1

  • Author: Vasily Dmitrievich Polenov
  • Museum: Tretyakov Gallery
  • Year: 1878

Overview of the painting :

Grandma’s garden – Vasily Dmitrievich Polenov. 1878. Oil on canvas. 54.7 x 65 cm

   Sadness in the history of “Drish nests” can be seen in many works of the late XIX – early XX centuries. It is enough to recall the “Trump Garden” A.P. Chekhov. The most piercing masterpiece in painting with a similar subject was created by Vasily Polenov in 1878, and this is the Grandma’s Garden.

   The logs were still caught by the flowering of “Drash nests” – he often visited his grandmother’s estate in Olshank, Tambov province and sincerely admired this place. Having thought up the picture, the artist, first of all, wanted to embody philosophical thought, and he successfully succeeded. The outgoing era, the change of generations, the renewal and the gradual painful disappearance of the old way – these are the main leitmotifs of the picture.

   The work is written in the genre of “pacing mood” – a personal find of the master. Polenov preferred not to pose acute social issues in his work, not to escalate the situation, he noted a certain mood, demonstrated the plot, calmly, simply and eloquently.

   In the picture, the viewer sees an old typical noble mansion – all of Moscow with its suburbs after the fire of 1812 was built up with such buildings. These houses were wooden, but the characteristic columns and the thick layer of plaster was to create the illusion of a thorough stone structure. The viewer sees how the bottom of such a “butaphor column” is peeling off, revealing the wooden masonry.

   The elegant pediment of the building speaks of a high taste and classical architecture, but at the same moment the eyes notice the peeling and crumbling stucco, rusty cornice, indicating the abandonment of the once beautiful house.

   The grown beautiful garden was once regular, but now it is a masterful greens that have not been cut for a long time, because the whole landscape decoration looks neglected.

   In the foreground, the main character is a twisted old woman in an old-fashioned cap and a young granddaughter in a fashionable dress. A vivid comparison of the old and the new. Grandmother looks as decrepit as her house is – the peeling walls of the mansion can be compared to the hooked figure of an elderly heroine.

   The color solution to the picture is truly beautiful and colorful. Even after the first exhibition B. Stasov, wary of Polenov, praised the Grandma’s Garden for the freshness of the color flavor. Indeed, a riot of greenery, bright sunlight, a yellow path, a blue sky – all this represents the plot very realistically and in detail.

   Looking at the loose steps of the high staircase, you can easily fantasize how many elegant shoes took off this porch, carefully crossing the track and looking at a beautiful well-groomed garden. Here, probably, they were very happy, loved, suffered, laughed – life was boiling here. However, today, everything around is only an echo of a long-standing holiday of life. The era of rich estates is leaving, giving way to a new way of life, and the destroying noble nests can only accompany their old women and keep in the back streets the echoes of noisy days, the gula of human voices, the tzokota of hooves approaching the porch of crews.