“On the Volga” (На Волге) is an oil on canvas of 141.5 X 190,5 cm painted by Nikolai Dubovskoy (Николай Дубовской) in 1892 now situated in the Tretyakov Gallery.
This beautiful landscape and marine painting depicting the wide full-flowing river Volga is one of Dubovskoy’s major works.
Since 1884, Dubovskoy’s painting have been presented exclusively at traveling exhibitions. He was admitted to the Association of Traveling Art Exhibitions in 1886, and became one of his most active member.
Starting with the painting “Quiet” in 1890, one of the important trends in Dubovskoy’s landscape was the theme of wide expanses of water.
“On the Volga” presented at the 20th exhibition of the Association of Traveling Art Exhibitions on February 1892 in Saint Petersburg was widely appreciated by viewers and critics and was bought by Tretyakov that same year.
A sketch of the study of “On the Volga” is also at the Tretyakov Gallery. It is an oil on canvas of 24 X 32 cm.
Description of the painting
Most of the canvas is occupied by the sky and water. The Volga which extends to the very horizon is perceived as an endless sea. The river is calm, there are no waves.
The very low and barely noticeable horizon line in which the water merges with the sky creates an impression of vastness.
In the painting “On the Volga” the artist uses “a finely nuanced range of lilac tones”, and the color scheme of the landscape is based on smooth transitions. Bluish-brown tones are used in the foreground of the shaded part of the water, and lilac-opal shades are used closer to the horizon, while silvery-bluish tones are used when depicting the sky.
Looking at the sky, we can see clouds floating across the sky, on which soft reflections of the sun are visible.
The water like a mirror reflects everything around it, like the sky, and boats.
To impress the size of the river fishing boats stand on the calm water seeming very small. We can also glimpse the figures of fishermen on a narrow strip of shallows on the right side of the canvas, as well as gulls.
The relatively small size of boats and fishermen not only emphasizes the vastness of the space surrounding them, but also shows the connection of the river with the life of people living and working on its banks .
I hope your enjoy this painting as much as I did. You can also read about the painting “Quiet” by Nikolai Nikanorovich Dubovskoy
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