Artist Alexey Savrasov. Why the author of the well-known picture “Rooks Flied“ finished the days in full poverty?
In the second half of the 19th century the Russian landscape painting endured rough rise. The audience who got used to the bright, but the same landscapes written in a strict academic manner saw true Russia, with its poor villages, the stately rivers, boundless fields of wheat, the birch woods lovely to heart. It occurred thanks to creativity of the whole group of great domestic landscape writers among whom the recognized expert on the Russian nature Alexey Kondratyevich Savrasov ranked high .
Alexey Savrasov who was born 12 (24 on N of page) May, 1830 in rather poor Moscow merchant family, since the childhood was fond of drawing. He the self-educated person mastered painting by a water color and gouache, tried to paint in oils. The aspiration of the young man “caused to study as the artist“ the resolute resistance of the father seeing the successor of family trade business in Alexey.
The fueled tension with the father even forced Alexey to give up study in the Moscow school of painting and sculpture to which he with great difficulty came in 1844. It could continue study only in 1848, thanks to the help of the teacher of school Karl Ivanovich Rabus who took it in the landscape class, and, strangely enough, Moscow Auber - the chief of police the general - the major Ivan Dmitriyevich Luzhin who rendered protection the talented young man. By the way, the general continued to sponsor also later Savrasov, and in summertime invited him in the manor where the young artist wrote many interesting works.
Several years spent out of walls of school when Savrasov, though parts, was engaged independently were not in vain. Alexey was practically at once distinguished from companions on study beyond the years with the mature relation to painting and undoubted talent. Patrons who were always enough in Moscow paid attention to it also, having allocated in 1849 funds for Savrasov`s trip for Ukraine from where Alexey Kondratyevich brought several good pictures and mass of etudes.
The Ukrainian works of Savrasov shown at an uchilishchny exhibition with interest were accepted by the audience and that for the young artist extremely important, are kindly noted by critics. The next year Savrasov graduated from school, having been entitled the artist for the pictures “Stone in the Wood at Flood“ and “View of the Moscow Kremlin at Lunar Lighting“. At exhibitions its new works of which the teacher of school Nikolay Aleksandrovich Ramazanov so spoke in magazine “ Moskvityanin began to appear“: “Mr. Savrasov`s landscapes... breathe freshness, a variety and by that force which is acquired by the artist`s brush owing to warm and together reasonable view on the nature“.
Paid to the young landscape writer attention and representatives of an imperial family. The president of Academy of Arts grand duchess Maria Nikolaevna, having got one of his pictures in 1854, invited the artist to live in its country palace near Oranienbaum to display the original local nature. Here Savrasov wrote a cycle of pictures for which Council of Academy of Arts gave to it the rank of the academician that was for those times an event very rare. The matter is that the high rank was received by the painter who was not the graduate of academy who only was 24 years old.
It is natural that works of the artist to which members of an imperial family showed attention were demanded, his pictures willingly bought. In 1857, after Rabus`s death, to Savrasov suggested to head a landscape class in the Moscow school of painting and sculpture. In the same year he married Sofya Gerts with whose brothers he was well familiar.
Despite pedagogical and public work Savrasov continued to write much, his pictures began to be exposed not only in Russia, but also abroad. It also in the sixties found an opportunity to visit twice Europe, having visited the largest galleries and the art museums of a number of the countries, having got acquainted with young artists who, as well as it, looked for new ways in picturesque display of the nature.
It should be noted that Savrasov was the talented teacher, Lev Kamenev, Isaak Levitan, Sergey and Konstantin Koroviny, Mikhail Nesterov, Sergey Svetoslavsky who became subsequently the famous artists were his pupils. Igor Grabar who with many pupils of Savrasov was connected by close friendship so described the creative atmosphere in Alexey Kondratyevich`s workshop: “Savrasov was able to inspire the pupils, and those, captured by enthusiastic worship of the nature, having rallied in a close circle, houses, and worked at nature without cease and in a workshop, and. With the first spring days all workshop hurried from the city and among the thawing snow admired beauty of the wakening life. The oak blossomed, and Savrasov, uneasy, ran in a workshop, announcing it as about an event and took away with himself youth again there, in green groves and fields“.
Probably, Savrasov himself also caught enthusiasm of the pupils. In 60 - 70 years many fine works are written to them. The most known of them became “Rooks flied“ to which the artist wrote the first etudes in the village of Molvitino in the homeland of legendary Ivan Susanin. At the end of 1871 the picture was presented at the first exhibition of Association of peredvizhniki among which cofounders there was also Savrasov. Small by the sizes, only 62 × 48,5 cm, it did not get lost among works of other landscape writers. And at once caused interest and painting fellows, and the audience. Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoy so spoke of this picture: “Savrasov`s landscape “Rooks flied“ there is the best and it really fine though here both Bogolyubov, and the baron Clodt, and Shishkin. But they are trees, water and even air, and the soul is only in “Rooks““.
It is difficult to believe that the artist painted so optimistical picture in a year when at him the daughter died and the wife was seriously ill. The artist tried to suppress heavy experiences the exhausting work. It seemed that it manages it, under its brush were born lyrical, filled with light and air of a cloth, admiring contemporaries. But in soul of the painter the break shown already in the second half 70 - x became ripe years. The artist became more rare to be exposed, in his works became less inspiration. Savrasov even more often began to resort to traditional Russian means to suppress melancholy that affected not only creativity, but also family life.
The situation was aggravated in 1882 when Savrasov was dismissed from school and lost the state apartment. The wife left the artist, and he began to fall below and below by a bottom. Savrasov tried to struggle with destiny, he had a common-law wife, was born two children. Unfortunately, he could not win against an addiction any more. But not for nothing in Russia say that you will not spend on drink talent. Minutes of enlightenments he continued to write.
It is natural that the majority of pictures were created at this time by Alexey Kondratyevich not on inspiration, and for earnings. But also in them the master`s hand was felt. 1894 the architect Alexander Pomerantsev who sent to Academy of Arts the report with a request to give help to in the great need Savrasov, noted: “I cannot but express confidence that the artist even for these... years, disastrous for it, did not lose the ability and skill in landscape painting; has to tell the same also about its drawings seen by me“.
The artist`s daughter Vera, the former friends and pupils in every possible way tried to help Savrasov, but could not achieve result. On September 26 (on October 8 on N of page) 1897 Alexey Kondratyevich died in the Moscow hospital for the poor. Buried the artist on the Vagankovo Cemetery.