Levitan in Petersburg

The weekend of June 13th we took a train to St. Petersburg to see an exhibition commemorating the 150th anniversary of Isaak Levitan’s birthday. Levitan was one of the 19th century’s greatest landscape painters. He may still be Russia’s most loved landscape painter. For anyone working with the landscape, the exhibition would be a must-see. The entire holdings of his work from the Russian Museum and loans from the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, meant almost all of his greatest works were there, alongside of short sketches, drawings, pastels and prints that you can’t find in reproduction. It was additionally important for us because Levitan is a part of the same landscape tradition we were studying. A part, because his work is universally known and studied by all Russian painters, but also because his artistic lineage – who taught him, and who he worked with – overlaps with the lineage of all of the painters with whom we were studying in Russia.

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