Lines and Colors art blog

Eye Candy for today: Ivan Shishkin graphite drawing

Trees by the Stream, Ivan Shishkin, pencil drawing

Trees by the Stream, Ivan Shishkin, pencil drawing

Trees by the Stream, Ivan Shishkin

Link is to the image page on The Athenaeum, direct link to the large image here. Original is in the Museum of the Russian Academy of Arts, St. Petersburg. The drawing is in graphite. I don’t have the dimensions.

Like many of the great landscape painters, 19th century Russian master Ivan Shishkin made lot of drawings of landscape subjects, some presumably just for study, and others in preparation for studio paintings.

I love how the main trees emerge from the background tone and the crisp delineation of the foreground rocks.


4 responses to “Eye Candy for today: Ivan Shishkin graphite drawing”

  1. It’s fascinating to see how Shishkin developed a form of nervous handwriting to simulate the rhythms of overlapping leaves and branches in a forest. He suggests the emergent bundles of leaves catching the light, and the background textures between those bundles and branches. He draws the trunks and branches in interrupted segments as they pass behind clumps of leaves. It’s all subtractive, like a watercolor, with perhaps a few touches of erasures. But the marks never seem automatic or self-indulgent or detached from careful observation.

    1. Thanks, James, for insightful analysis. I’ve gone back into the drawing now (and some others) with a different appreciation.

      Your comment about “nervous handwriting” and the appearance of those marks reminded me of of the zig-zag notation for foliage in some of Fragonard’s drawings.

  2. In general I ‘expect’ his paintings to measure about 32.5 x 46.5 cm (12³/₄ x 18¹/₄ inches) in dimensions.
    Who’d know best?

  3. It was only in the first half of the 19th century that pencil drawing began to be regarded as equal to other art forms. In the romantic era, with its focus on people’s inner worlds and aspirations, and changes in their mood, pencil became an ideal means of communication.
    Black chalk, called in Russia “Italian pencil” because it was brought from Italy, replaced silver and lead pencils.

    Excerpt copied from an art magazine.

    Its10th year celebration in 2013 with a kind message from Irina Lebedeva.