Isaac Levitan

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Isaac Levitan : The viewer of mood in mundane


Russian by birth, Isaac Levitan did significant work in the classical mood landscape genre of painting. His most famous artworks are Autumn Day, The Vladimirka Road, Evening Bells, and Spring Flood. While most people consider the countryside boring, Isaac Levitan centered many of his mood landscapes on the Russian countryside. 

Early Life 

Levitan was born on 30th August 1860 in a small Jewish village of Kibarty, located in the erstwhile Russian Empire. His family was Jewish by faith and poor in social status. However, this did not stop Levitan from pursuing his interest in art during his early years. He and his brother Avel were both inclined towards art and architecture. Isaac joined his brother at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture in 1873, where he trained in painting under Alexei Savrasov, VasilyPerov, and other famous art exponents of the Russian Empire.

In 1877, Levitan’s art forms were put for public exhibition for the first time. Levitan grew in fame and patronage while honing his talents in landscape painting. In 1879, Levitan painted his famous artwork Autumn Day. Levitan’s landscape paintings were full of intricate detail, a painting style he had learned from Alexei Savrasov. 

Famous Artwork 

Isaac Levitan painted many famous paintings in his lifetime. However, the most famous ones are those of the Russian countryside. Apart from painting landscape art, Levitan also illustrated magazines such as Moscow and Kremlin in the 1880s. Some of the famous artworks he created in his late years were The River Istra, the much somber Twilight River Istra. Both of these were painted in the year 1885. The only urban landscape that Levitan painted was the View of Simonov Monastery. His later works include Spring Flood painted in 1897 with birch trees unique to Levitan’s style. 

Final Years and Death 

By 1897, Isaac Levitan was a world-renowned landscape painter. In the same year, Isaac was given a place at the Imperial Academy of Arts, and in 1898, he acquired the head position of Landscape Studio at his former school. He died at the turn of the century in 1900, leaving behind an unfinished artwork titled The Lake