Peasant Women in the Grove. 1949 - Russian impressionism museum
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Peasant Women in the Grove. 1949

Pavel Shmarov

Oil on canvas

The work “Peasant Women in the Grove” by the artist Pavel Shmarov was made in the year before his death. He was poor and old, forgotten by his contemporaries, living alone in the suburbs of Paris. He did not have success entering French society, but his ties to Russia decayed with time. Disregarding the sad life of the artist, in this painting Shmarov strikes a peaceful note. It is full of tender colors, and idealized sketches of life in Russia in all its splendor. This painting shows the blooming freshness of nature, tenderness, and mystique of Russian girls in the midst of joy and happiness. 

Homesickness found its reflection in these works inspired by Russia. Simple and beautiful girl-peasants - this is the embodiment of the abandoned motherland of the artist, which he time and time again recreated in his works. 

Young girls in bright national clothing frequently appeared on his canvases in a moment of leisure: by the river, walking in the field, and in the grove. They laugh and enjoy life, bright with the energy of beauty, underlining the joy of being. 

Of course, the subject of this work does not have much in common with reality. Peasants of Pavel Shmarov always relax and laugh, while real peasants had a lot of work to do from dawn to dusk. The clothes of peasants are bright and contrasting, and the combination of green and red colors is pulled from the Impressionist palette. In reality, girls living on this terrain traditionally wore clothes of one kind and color, and this riot of colors is hard to imagine. Further, “Peasants in the Grove” is an illusion that ignores the laws of physics. The light in this painting falls not from the top or the side, but from the between the two girls, therefore creating the sensation that the painting shines from within.