Summer Day. 1950 - Russian impressionism museum

Summer Day. 1950

Alexander Gerasimov

Oil on canvas
120X149.8

When Alexander Gerasimov was not working on official commissions, the Soviet realist artist in him gave way to his lyrical alter ego, and for his own pleasure he would paint portraits of his family, both indoors and in his garden, as well as scenes of Russian rural life, peonies and wild flowers. Once, while travelling in India, he even painted a local village scene! Gerasimov often turned to the “view from the window” motif. His first work of this kind dates from 1912; another “Window” (1936) is now in the collection of the Russian Museum. It is worth noting that all these paintings are quite different from one another. Gerasimov did not merely paint versions of one work – he re-created the subject, added new features, and changed the colour scheme. The art gallery owner and expert on Gerasimov’s work Leonid Shishkin has described this series of works: “The melody is the same, but the arrangements are quite different.” This particular work is “Summer Day”, which Gerasimov painted in 1950, late in his career, almost forty years after he first approached the subject. Try to recall how the forest smells right after heavy rain. Look through the wide-open, life-size window in the painting, and you will feel that fresh scent immediately, with a hint of lilac from the bouquet on the windowsill. How masterfully and effortlessly the artist paints the blossoms, how lush are the green leaves, and how skillfully, as a true impressionist, Gerasimov captures the moment: from the glass of the window it seems as if the rain has only just stopped. Behind the window frame are trees. Again, the artist captures the fleeting moment – the heavy raindrops are just about to fall from the leaves. Somewhere far away the sky is clearing, and the wooden gate and the path that leads to the house shine. What is this if not the true renewal of nature?