Russian landscape painter Ivan Shishkin (1832-1898) painted Midday in the Outskirts of Moscow after doing countless plein-air studies in the countryside.
According to Henk Van Os, “In it laborers are seen returning home through the fields of rye at the close of day. In the distance we see houses, a country church and a winding river….The painting is an awesome experience of the liberating effect of space.”
The painting dates from 1869, soon after the group of painters called the Peredvizhniki (Itinerants or Wanderers) declared independence from the constrictions of the academies, and brought their work to the common people by means of traveling exhibitions.
Few in Russia had painted landscape on such a grand scale before—and rarely with such deep feeling. The work had a galvanizing effect on later generations of Russian landscape painters, who realized all at once the potential for landscape to be the vehicle for expressing the deepest stirrings of the human soul.
160 images by Ivan Shishkin at The Athenaeum.org, link.
Essay by Henk Van Os appeared in in the exhibition catalog Russian Landscape, (2003), edited by David Jackson, link.
Wikipedia on Ivan Shishkin, link.
Illustrated essay, "The Immortal Itinerants," link.