Description of the picture:
Overgrown pond – Vasily Dmitrievich Polenov. 1879. Oil on canvas. 77×121.8 cm
The transience of time and sadness over the past are the main leitmotifs of Vasily Polenov’s “Overgrown Pond”.
If you define the genre of this work, then the poetic masterpiece can be attributed to the “narrative landscape”, and it was created as the sum of several memories of the creator. In one thousand eight hundred and seventy-seven, Polenov lived in the village of Petrushki near Kiev in the summer, and there the master made a small sketch, which will then serve as the basis for the painting.
For a whole year the painter did not recall the work he had written, and after Polenov he moved from Arbat to the Moscow outskirts, to Khamovniki. The colorful countryside impressed the discerning craftsman and especially the beauty of the old garden. In the end, new memories were stacked on a long-standing sketch, bringing a special mood, and resulted in a very unusual work – “Overgrown Pond”.
In this picture, the painter appeared as a narrow colorist. All the beauty of this work lies in the filigree playing out of gradations of the 1st and the same color, in the smallest nuance, tone variations. The old bridge is beautifully depicted – it is trodden to the whiteness of the boards and this gives the plot nostalgia: once the pond had a completely different look and hundreds of feet erased the footbridges on its shore. And at the moment, only a lonely female figure on the bench, slightly distinguishable and completely disturbing the peace of the wild.
The composition is built with an obvious reference to the academic tradition – contrasting the front and the background. Moreover, the first is made with particular care and detailed drawing, while the second is characterized by a certain generalization and approximation. Yellow water lilies, which, like warm little lights, bloom the gloomy dark expanse of water, attract particular attention.
For the first time, the painting appeared publicly in one thousand eight hundred and seventy-nine and had great success, initiating a separate topic in landscape painting. Later, many painters painted their own overgrown pond, namely Isaac Levitan, a pupil of Polenov."