The painting “Overgrown Pond”, Vasily Dmitrievich Polenov – description

The painting “Overgrown Pond”, Vasily Dmitrievich Polenov – description
The painting "Overgrown Pond", Vasily Dmitrievich Polenov - description - 1

  • Author: Vasily Dmitrievich Polenov
  • Museum: Tretyakov Gallery
  • Year: 1879

Overview of the painting :

Overgrown pond – Vasily Dmitrievich Polenov. 1879. Oil on canvas. 77×121.8 cm

   The speed of time and sadness for the departed are the main leitmotifs of the painting “Frozen Pond” by Vasily Polenov.    If we define the genre of this work, then a poetic masterpiece can be attributed to the “narrative landscape”, and it was created as the sum of several impressions of the author. In 1877, Polenov lived in the summer in the village of Petrushki near Kiev, and there the master created a small sketch, which will subsequently serve as the basis of the picture.

   For a whole year, the painter did not remember the written work, and after the Polenov moved from Arbat to the Moscow outskirts, to Khamovniki. The picturesque area struck the sensitive master and especially the charm of the old garden. In the end, new impressions fell into a long-standing study, bringing a special mood, and resulted in a completely unusual work – “A grown pond”.

   In this picture, the artist performed as a thin colorist. All the charm of this work lies in the filigree beating of gradation of the same color, in the smallest nuances, ton variations. The old bridge is remarkably depicted – it is trampled to whiteness of the boards and this gives the plot nostalgicity: once the pond had a completely different look and hundreds of legs erased the bridges on its shore. And now only a lonely female figure on the bench, barely distinguishable and absolutely not violating the peace of a feral nature.

   The composition is built with a clear reference to the academic tradition – opposition of the foreground and background. Moreover, the first is made with special care and detailed drawing, when the second is distinguished by some generalization and approximation. Yellow water lilies, which, like warm little ones, bloom the gloomily dark expanse the water, pay special attention.

   For the first time in public, the picture appeared in 1879 and was a great success, laying the foundation for a separate topic in landscape painting. Later, many artists wrote their overgrown pond, in particular the student of Polenova Isaac Levitan.