Above eternal peace - Levitan. 150x206
Helplessness, fragility and defenselessness - these are the main feelings that every spectator experiences before this work of a great artist. Perhaps, thanks to this particular painting, the name of the landscape master is so widely known not only among lovers of painting ...
The author himself believed that this was his most successful work, revealing his worldview, his attitude. Lead clouds hung heavily over a steep shore. On a small cliff there is a church, a forgotten cemetery, a graveyard, the last refuge ... Fragile trees bend under a strong wind, a thin, broken path leading to the church is a symbol of oblivion, abandonment, attrition.
The elements surrounding the cliff breathe with power. It seems that for another moment the churchyard will disappear, the church will scatter around the world ... Destruction seems inevitable.
It is known that the artist wrote this work while listening to music. The solemn and sad sounds of Beethoven's mourning march inspired the author and made him create a gloomy and almost tragic atmosphere of this work. The viewer hears the howling of the wind, feels piercing cold, damp, hears the peals of distant thunder.
In the distance you can see a deserted island, which is swiftly floating away from the cliff. It seems that the island carries away the souls of the dead so that eternity swallows the remainder of the human spirit, the very memories of the departed people.
Human life is insignificant, fleeting and meaningless ... A huge space covered by the artist’s gaze puts pressure on the viewer. A keen sense of loneliness and defenselessness is experienced by the viewer in front of this eternal peace, which people are afraid to even think about. The eternal question is what is there, beyond the threshold of eternity, tormenting the author, but he does not find an answer, providing this search to the viewer.
The author has created several sketches before starting the main work. These sketches are of undoubted value, as separate works. On the other hand, they make it possible to understand the path that the author went from the conceived work to the realization of his idea. The master somewhat softened the tragedy of the landscape as a result of this path, while adding the power of the natural element.
The light in the work is evenly distributed, the shadows are practically absent. Using muted tones, the master was able to masterfully convey the very essence of bad weather. His attention to detail makes the work unusually realistic and deep in content.
Surprisingly, the small dome of the church confronts the power of the elements. It is directed strictly upward, and its color, merging with the metallic tones of the sky, creates a feeling of unwaveringness and strength. The master, even in this work, could not do without optimistic hints. Only a firm Faith can help a person gain peace and confidence in his goals and the meaning of his life. However, this optimistic statement is encrypted in the picture. Only the most inquisitive viewers are able to discern in this small detail the very essence of this iconic work of the artist.
The painting saw the light at the time of the greatest flowering of the artist's talent. That is why his idea, philosophical depth, the honed craftsmanship with which this canvas was painted, so amazed contemporaries and amaze posterity. The content of this picture will be relevant for all generations.
The work in its dimensions is quite relevant to the monumental works of the author. And in essence, it is his spiritual testament, his creative program and the artist’s most complete philosophical attitude towards the world and people. The work was admired by Russian poets and musicians. She served as an impetus for the creation of many musical and poetic works. And writers, both the beginning of the 20th century, and modern ones, often include a description of this particular work to reveal the characters of their heroes, as well as to give the plot of their works depth and content.