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Road in the Rye, Ivan Shishkin - Description of the Painting



Road in the Rye - Ivan Ivanovich Shishkin. Canvas, oil. 71 x 27 cm


The "Road in the Rye" presents a wide panorama, with a lonely figure of a traveler depicted in its center. The motif of the road is frequently found in the creature of Ivan Ivanovich, but this panorama format is an unusual choice for the master.

A huge field of rye, lit by the sun, is spread out in front of us, symbolizing the national Russian landscape. The beauty and expanse of the Russian field inspired the master and made him return to the subject of abundance and fertility of his motherland repeatedly.

The foreground of the work is written with particular care and love, with all the variety of meadow herbs coming to life right before our eyes, bewitching with the realism. Heavy ripened grain ears look filled with the golden light, and the tone of the whole picture is warm and calm, with light golden-ocher, green and bluish hues predominating

The above color combination is quite symbolic: golden and blue were traditionally applied in icon painting, so here Ivan Ivanovich emphasized the divine principle of nature and its pristine beauty.

The road runs away into the distance, crossing the field and hiding somewhere among the vast expanses; one can observe heavy thunderclouds on the horizon. The sky is tormented by the heat and seems to have discolored and lost its brightness and sonorous blue. The mastery of painting technique, together with the perfect color and careful observation of the surrounding world allowed the painter to convey with the truly photographic accuracy the fleeting state of nature: a ringing pre-storm silence, which is ready to explode with heavy thunder at any moment, and heavy drops bringing life-giving moisture.

The road occupies the entire foreground of the painting: the path streaked with the numerous wheel traces starts directly from the viewer and is then lost in the distance, in order to symbolize the life path of a human, difficult and as winding as the country road. On the horizon you will see the roofs of houses, and one would like to believe that it is to them that the traveler is heading, to wait out the bad weather.
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