After the rain. Ples, Levitan, 1889

Description of the picture:

After the rain. Ples – Levitan. 1889. Oil on canvas. 80×125

   Freshness, turning into light chilliness, barges near the shore – as a symbol of the Volga’s labor, a huge and empty sky, recently freed from excessive moisture: it is no coincidence that this work is considered almost the best in the whole work of the great artist.

   The plain beach is devoid of beauty and external charm. This is a place where people work, they have no time to admire nature, therefore nature is modest and unsophisticated. The picture is deserted, people, frightened by the rain, have not yet returned to their everyday affairs. But their presence is imbued with everything around: here is a small ship running along the Volga, gangplanks thrown to the ground, goods on deck, etc.

   The light wind, determined by the ripples on the surface of the water, brings revitalization to a deserted landscape. The sky with light clouds gives the whole composition lightness and freedom.

   The town on the shore acts as a backdrop. Several buildings, of which only the church stands out, enliven the work, giving it a multifaceted appearance.

   The general rhythm of work is measured and leisurely. The color scheme is poor: from light cream to perfectly white, interspersed with dark greens, the overall pale blue (emphasizing rainy dampness) – create a special atmosphere of light sadness.

   The light at work is interesting – as if it breaks through a cloudy shell, it floods the entire landscape with smooth, invisible light, indicated only by the absence of any shadow from objects and buildings.

   The water surface was brilliantly successful for the artist: the trembling silhouettes of barges, ripples, the mirror surface – everything here creates a feeling of extraordinary authenticity and accuracy.

   Many of the artist’s works are surprisingly in tune with the works of Chekhov. They are united by a common attitude, an amazing ability to notice important trifles, and also to see the universe in trifles. So this work of the great master fills the viewer with a sense of involvement in the depicted landscape. It seems that the picture conveys the smells of the humid air of the Volga coast."

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