Isaac Ilich Levitan
Fresh Breeze, The Volga
oil on canvas
72 x 123 cm
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
From 1887 to 1890, Levitan worked during the spring and summer in regions near the Volga, the great Russian river. The painter travelled a great deal along the Volga, but mainly lived in the small village of Pliosse. The Volga made it possible for the Levitan’s gifts to develop, because the vast spaces through which this Russian river flows inspired him with its many different views. Fresh Breeze, The Volga is one of Levitan’s most joyous paintings from his Volga cycle. The dominant tone of this canvas is optimism. The artist makes courageous use of bright and dazzling colours, and his treatment of paint is dense and straightforward. Movement dominates this painting, which is imbued with feelings of great lightness and joy that result from the vast expanses of the Volga scenery. The viewer gets the impression of freshness and power from the wind driving the clouds in the sky and churning the waters of the river.