Mountain Village. 1911
Oil on canvas mounted on cardboard
Modesty was one of Nikolai Dubovskoy’s distinguishing features. Once, showing one of his early canvases at a traveling exhibition, he meekly quoted the buyer the price of 75 rubles, until his colleagues persuaded the short-sighted young master, with difficulty, to raise the price to 500. Dubovskoy was convinced that they were teasing him - he did not believe it was worth that much until the purchaser, Pavel Tretyakov himself no less, counted out 500 rubles, and added the work to his collection. "Mountain Village" is the work of a mature master, painted in 1911, when Dubovskoy was professor of the landscape workshop at St. Petersburg’s Academy of Arts. It is believed to depict an Armenian village near Sochi. Look closely at the colouring: the white houses framed with green foliage, the bright sun, the flowers, all done with thick brushstrokes, and behind them the Caucasus, creating a feeling both of comfort, and at the same time of inspiration. Painting was Dubovskoy’s passion, and he devoted his entire life to his art. He was even late for his own wedding because he had started to sketch a view from the window and could not abandon it until it was finished. Fortunately for him, his bride Faina Terskaya shared her husband’s passion, and after their marriage she became his student and later followed her husband into the Association of Traveling Art Exhibits, better known as the Peredvizhniki, or Wanderers, group.