Painting “Early Snow”, Vasily Dmitrievich Polenov – description

Painting “Early Snow”, Vasily Dmitrievich Polenov – description
Painting "Early Snow", Vasily Dmitrievich Polenov - description - 1

  • Author: Vasily Dmitrievich Polenov
  • Museum: Tretyakov Gallery
  • Year: 1891

Overview of the painting :

Early snow – Vasily Dmitrievich Polenov. 1891. Oil on canvas. 48 x 85 cm

   A wonderful Russian landscape depicts the banks of the Oka River from the side of the village of Bekhovo, next to which was the estate of the master, later named Polenovo. That year, snow fell very early, back in September, so the landscape was very spectacular, the artist could not resist such temptation.

   The trees in the picture are still in autumn harvest, the leaves have not yet fallen, because this is early autumn, winter just hastened to come to these lands. Landscape is striking in spaciousness and desertedness, the picture seems filled with fresh frosty air. Its color is built on the contrast of warm shades of autumn foliage and pure cold colors of snow, freezing water in the river and hanging heavy snow clouds of the sky.

   The canvas depicts a deep panorama of the bend of the river with steep banks that partially overgrown with forest. A dark blue sky with low clouds hung over the river, which are about to open and fill the surroundings with a new “portion” of snow. There is literally a frost in the air, although warm autumn paint foliage smooths this impression a little. In this picture, the artist’s high skill is clearly visible – in addition to the wonderfully reproduced deep space, the subtle elaboration of details, literally every leaflet on trees, is surprising.

   The forest froze, numb from a sudden cold, all life in it seemed to suddenly stop. The river seems motionless. The canvas is captured by a pause in life, caused by a sharp and unusual change in nature. The artist masterfully caught this feeling of sudden shock, which experienced all living things due to unexpected and very early snow. Perhaps the next day it will warmer and the snow will quickly melt, but now nature seemed to be thinking about what to do next.

   The picture has an interesting story. The artist created as many as 8 of her original copies, which are now in various museums, and one even got to France, to the Comedy Frances Theater.