Sunday, January 2, 2022

Vladimir Orlovsky

Vladimir Orlovsky (1842-1914) was a Ukranian painter who used dramatic lighting to create a spacious feeling.

The main subject of the horses and people on the frozen road is not dramatically lit, but instead held in a soft shadow. The brighter light is in the foreground and in the far sky.

The wide open basin of the Dniepr river stretches out peacefully in the far distance.

This one uses the opposite regime of light, with an illuminated foreground and a road leading back into a soft cloud shadow.
Book: Vladimir Orlovsky: Selected Paintings


Publisher said...

Hi James,
Thank you for sharing paintings of this wonderful artist. One technical correction though. He was not a Ukranian, he was a Russian artist. Even technically speaking. :)
If you check references that you used, even English sources (not "bad Russians" :)) mention him as a "Russian painter":
- "Vladimir Orlovsky was a Russian Imperial realist painter and academic of Saint Petersburg Academy of Arts." (
- "Vladimir Orlovsky (1842– 1914) was a Russian realist painter." (
Once again, thank you for sharing. I enjoy each and every article on academic (and not only) art that you post.
Happy New Year!

James Gurney said...

Liana, on the same Wikipedia page you referenced, it says: "Orlovsky is considered one of the founders of Ukrainian Realist landscape painting," and that he "was born in Kiev in 1842 to a landowning noble family of Ukrainian descent." I know that Ukraine's status relative to Russia is a contentious topic in contemporary politics. I'm not trying to advocate for any political view, just trying to put this artist in some identifiable context.

Bohdan Tymo said...

"even English sources (not "bad Russians" :))" - It's because Russians can write in English nowadays (Wikipedia is very notorious in this regard) and call everyone who was born under their empire (including USSR) "Russians",as they always did. That book, for instance, is by a woman with an old English surname Vasileva :))). It's a status of Repin or Aivazovsky can be contentious, but in Orlovsky's matter everything is clear.