Flower Garden. 1927
Oil on cardboard
The “garden in bloom” was a motif that Petrovichev borrowed from his teacher, the eminent landscape painter, Isaac Levitan, and although almost 25 years had passed since Petrovichev had graduated from the School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, the theme remained absolutely fresh for him. His first lessons with Levitan had left touching memories: "When I started studying with Levitan, he began to teach me how to paint nature. He said: ‘We need to paint nature just as it is, but you—you simply decorate it. Have you been to the West?’ ‘No, never. Why do you ask?’ I replied. ‘Because,’ he said, ‘you have been influenced by the West.’ I told him that I had had the misfortune to see the French Impressionist exhibition. Then he replied to me: ‘You know, you and I are Russian artists, so let's paint Russian-style.’ And he taught me how to really paint. First, I had only purples and lilacs, then after about three months, Levitan started to show my work as an example to other students, ‘That’s how you need to paint! It must be simple and direct - nature herself must be there in the painting.’"