Monday, January 4, 2021

Shishkin's Winter Forests

In his painting Winter Forest, Ivan Shishkin presents a dark forest filled with snow. 

Winter Forest by Ivan Shishkin

The lure of being lost in the shadows of a forest in winter is a compelling visual idea that stirs deep mythic feelings. 

Shishkin studied painting in Germany, a nation that has a special word for the poetic feeling of being alone in the forest: Waldeinsamkeit. 

Ivan Shishkin Winter in the Forest (Hoarfrost) 

In this winter forest painting, the visual pathway leads back to a light-filled distant clearing. On a sunny day, wet snow sticking to small branches lasts only a couple of hours before it melts away. 

Shishkin was an advocate of using photo references, so he may have been aided by photographs as well as plein air studies for this one.


Previously: Shishkin and Photography and Using Photo Reference

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The classic book on Shishkin is this Russian edition from the 1980s.


Steven Tortora said...

Photography freed painting to be something else.
Something other than literal depiction.
While I admire Shishkin and Rockwell give me
Boudin and Frazetta anytime. I admire Caneletto but
give me Hokusai anytime..
If you want to take photos be a photographer.
Thanks for the post-as always

Dan Gurney said...

Come In

As I came to the edge of the woods,
Thrush music — hark!
Now if it was dusk outside,
Inside it was dark.

Too dark in the woods for a bird
By sleight of wing
To better its perch for the night,
Though it still could sing.

The last of the light of the sun
That had died in the west
Still lived for one song more
In a thrush's breast.

Far in the pillared dark
Thrush music went —
Almost like a call to come in
To the dark and lament.

But no, I was out for stars;
I would not come in.
I meant not even if asked;
And I hadn't been.

—Robert Frost

Warren JB said...

This is a feeling I completely understand, going out to the local forests - shrunken plantations as they may be - stepping quietly, waiting for the wildlife. Now I have a word for it.

One silver lining to the just-a-little-too-ordered-to-be-natural rows of trees are some instances of views not a million miles away from 'Winter in the Forest'. A photograph of one view, dark and misty, has been my tablet's wallpaper for years. I should really try to take brush to it; though like the forest itself, it would only be a pale imitation of continental giants like Shishkin.

Igneous said...

Shishkin is my current Computer Wallpaper. And I'm recreating two of his paintings (for fun). Was excited to see this post.