- Project Runeberg -  Impressions of Russia /
167

(1889) [MARC] Author: Georg Brandes Translator: Samuel Coffin Eastman - Tema: Russia
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great things as a colorist. And among his far too
numerous paintings there are not a few which, like his
“Field of the Dead,” remain ineffaceably impressed upon
the memory of the beholder. He who wishes to judge
him correctly ought not to be content with studying
what he has himself selected for export and international
exhibition by electric light, with the accompaniment of
hand-organ music, but he should visit the collection of
his paintings in Tretiakof’s gallery in Moscow.
Verestchagin is a genuine Russian, with his bias towards a
rambling life of adventure, and with the extraordinary
compound in his art of ultra-realism and symbolical
mysticism (the allegory of war, for example). There is
a certain connection between him and Tolstoï. He
would be in his sphere as an illustrator of Tolstoï’s
works, and “War and Peace” would be specially
adapted to his talents. His conception of war, as De
Vogüé has correctly felt, is that of the authors who love
peace and describe war.[1]

Among the modern artists of Russia there are two who
have impressed me above all others, Riepin and Kramskoï.

The forte of Kramskoï, who died in the spring of
1887, was portrait-painting. In Tretiakof’s gallery there
can be seen a whole suggestive series of his vigorously
conceived portraits of the great distinguished Russians
of his day: Hertzen, Byelinski, Turgenief, Dostoyevski,
and others. After his death there was an exhibition of
his works in the academy. There were two religious
paintings: “Christ in the Desert,” emaciated by fasting,
oppressed by the weight of his thoughts; and a huge
unfinished picture, “Christ before Pilate,” besides five
halls full of portraits, the pearl of which, with its
peerless expression, is that of the Little-Russian poet


[1] E. M. de Vogüé: Souvenirs et Visions, p. 172.

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