The Park of Tolstoy’s Estate in Khamovniki. 1915
Oil on cardboard
For Pyotr Petrovichev, who had come to Moscow from the provinces, his first years of study there were a very difficult time. He fell behind in all his subjects, and was on the verge of failing completely. Exhibitions of his paintings were never a success - he lived in great hardship and distress. That all changed when the landscape classes started. His teacher, Isaac Levitan, could see Petrovichev’s talent, and soon this failing student had become a favourite. Levitan praised his ability in plein air painting to choose just the right motif for a sketch, and extolled him as an example for the rest of the students, "Look, just look at Petrovichev! I came, I saw, and I was amazed." Petrovichev borrowed imagery from "The Park of Tolstoy’s Estate in Khamovniki" from his teacher, and the similarity with Levitan’s famous "Apple Trees in Blossom" is obvious. Petrovichev would later share this same subject with his own students.