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Ivan Ivanovich Shishkin (1832-1898) Russian landscape painter.
“Russia - country of landscapes… I hope the time will come, when all Russian nature, alive and penetrated by spirit, will look from canvases of Russian artists…” - Shishkin
CHILDHOOD Ivan Shishkin was born in the small provincial town of Yelabuga. In 1844 the boy was sent to the Kazan grammar-school, where he soon found friends with whom he could draw and discuss art. The set-up of the grammar-school, however, was an obstacle to his aspirations and intentions, and after the summer holidays of 1848 he did not go back to the school —'so that I would not become a clerk', as he put it.
Ivan Shishkin started drawing as a child and continued through his life; he is said to have never parted from his pencil. Drawing was a way to study the nature. By his contemporaries, Shishkin was given the nicknames “Titan of the Russian Forest,” “Forest Tsar,” “Old Pine Tree” and “Lonely Oak,” as there was no one at that time who depicted trees more realistically, honestly and with greater love. “Shishkin - national artist. All his life he studied Russian, mainly the northern woods, Russian trees and Russian thickets. It is his empire, and here he has no contenders, he is unique.” - Stasov
Rain in an Oak Forest It was Russia and chiefly her native forests that became the enduring focus of his long, successful and prodigious career. Shishkin's works were greeted as the defining images of Russia that promoted a new pride in the indigenous landscape. Before Shishkin no one had narrated the love of his native town and the soft beauty of the northern nature. The works of this outstanding artist enjoy vast popularity in Russia and all over the world and have become classics of Russian landscape painting.
Apart from painting, Shishkin was also a master of drawing and engraving. His drawing went through the same evolution as his painting. Those of the eighties, which were executed in charcoal and chalk, are much more expressive than the pen-drawings of the sixties. In 1891, more than 600 etudes and etchings were exhibited at the Academy. The exhibition gave a good idea of the scope of the artist who was deeply aware of and sought to express the beauty and heroic power of the Russian countryside.
For some time, Shishkin lived and worked in Switzerland and Germany on scholarship from the St. Petersburg Imperial Academy of Arts. On his return to Saint Petersburg, he became a member of the Circle of the Itinerants and of the Society of Russian Watercolorists. He also took part in exhibitions at the Academy of Arts, the All Russian Exhibition in Moscow (1882), the Nizhniy Novgorod (1896), and the World Fairs (Paris, 1867 and 1878, and Vienna, 1873). Shishkin's painting method was based on analytical studies of nature. He became famous for his forest landscapes, and was also an outstanding draftsman and a printmaker.
Shishkin had a troubled private life, twice he fell in love and married and twice his wives died. His sons also died. But he never allowed his sorrows to appear on his canvases. Shishkin died suddenly in his studio in St. Petersburg, while working on the painting “Forest Kingdom.”
The largest collections of Shishkin's work can be viewed at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow and the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg. Morning in a Pine Forest A Rye Field
The rocky landscape
View on the Outskirts of St. Petersburg
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