Throwback Thursdays Art – w/ Update!

Throwback Thursdays Art – w/ Update!

Every Thursday, as part of my personal “enriched environment” initiative, I post a piece of art, usually from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which recently released online some 400,000 high-resolution images of its collection.  All artwork will show a sun (or sunlight) somewhere. 

I won’t name the piece or the artist, but instead invite you to study the art and post a comment addressing one or more of these questions:

  • What is going on in this picture?
  • What do you see that makes you say that?
  • What more can you find?

If you have another idea, run with it.

Special Update!  The New York Times website does this same exercise every Monday with a news photo that is uncaptioned and contains no text (click!).  The Times asks viewers the same three questions:

  • What is going on in this picture?
  • What do you see that makes you say that?
  • What more can you find?

However, at the end of the week, the Times posts the background information on the picture.  So, I’ve decided to do the same.  I’ll still post an unlabeled piece of art on Thursday.  But return on Sunday (for the Sunny Sundays post!) and you’ll find an update on the artwork here.

Note:  To embiggen the image, click on it! 



Red Sunset on the Dnieper

Artist:  Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi (Russian, Mariupol 1842–1910 St. Petersburg)

Date:  1905–8

Medium:  Oil on canvas

Dimensions:  53 x 74 in. (134.6 x 188 cm)

 

Arkhip Kuindzhi is considered one of the most talented Russian landscape painters of his generation. Born in Ukraine, he was associated during the second half of the 1870s with a group of Russian Realist painters known as the Wanderers. In the 1890s, he was hired to teach landscape painting at the Academy of Fine Arts but was later dismissed for sympathizing with student agitators. He ultimately founded his own painting society.

This late major painting is typical of Kuindzhi, who is best known for his large, nearly empty landscapes. The scene shows a sunset over the banks of the Dnieper, a great river that originates west of Moscow and runs far south into the Black Sea. The dark shapes in the foreground represent a cluster of thatched-roof huts, typical of the region.

About The Author: Bruce

4 Comments

  1. Martha E.
    Reply

    This looks like a Rorschach test. I see in the cloud the head and torso of a lizard, with its right leg (which we see on the left) gesticulating as if the lizard was trying to reason with me or direct my attention to the left side of the picture. The setting sun is not the lizard’s heart but a gold medallion that the Queen of England pinned on its chest for bravery in the face of evil.

  2. Aisha
    Reply

    When I first saw this on my iPhone while riding the bus home, I thought those were cloaked figures standing on the shore watching the setting sun. But now on my laptop I see their really tall bushes.

  3. Chris Tempe
    Reply

    This is a difficult picture when the question is “What is going on in this picture?” There are no humans and the scene is basically static. Yet in the atmosphere above, the clouds have formed a strange cartoon-like figure, with the sun shining through its abdomen. And then there’s the second, lighter, higher-up swathe of cloud that resembles the Nike swoosh.

    The amount of red in this painting is intense. I don’t think I’d want to hang this picture in my living room, but perhaps examine it in a museum.

    Is this picture foretelling what the Earth will be like after global warming?

  4. Paul D.
    Reply

    It’s strange that, in terms of composition, the “cloaked figures” that Aisha mentions in her comment above, are all centered in the middle of the painting, underneath the cloud head. You have the cloud formations dominating the center of the picture, the Sun at the very center, and the tall bushes centered below that. The edges of the painting are mostly barren, just reds of one hue or another.

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