Peasant girls in the forest by Alexey Korzukhin

Peasant girls in the forest by Alexey Korzukhin

One of the founders and an active figure of the Association of Mobile Art Exhibitions, A. Korzukhin was not only a gifted artist, but a profound connoisseur of folk life. In his work he paid much attention to the development of this topic, resulting in beautiful pictures that have preserved to this day the brightest moments of the life of the peasant class.

Among the peasant themes, the picture “Peasant girls in the forest” occupies a special place. The fact is that the artist turned to the depiction of this plot twice. The first painting was written a year earlier and was more decorative, brighter and more picturesque. “Peasant girls…” in 1878 – a more dramatic, emotionally filled canvas, causing not only interest, but also an experience for the little heroines.

The picture depicts the daily life of peasant children – three girls went to the forest for berries. Already to the very top were gathered bowls of raspberries, or strawberries, when suddenly someone unknown frightened the children and made them prick up their ears. What is it – a crackle of twigs, a wolf howl or a roar of a bear? In fright, the girls clung to each other and leaned back against the old powerful tree, as if seeking protection from him. But the curiosity inherent in children is read out in fright. The girls peer into the dark forest thicket, trying to discern and understand who or what there may be hiding and whether to be afraid of it.

From the picture comes anxiety and excitement – the artist masterfully managed to convey this emotion due to the cut-off effects that distinguish the faces of children and the defender tree against the background of a dense, gloomy forest.

For a long time in the artistic circles it was believed that the background of the picture was not made by Korzukhin, but by another artist – the recognized master of landscape I. Shishkin. And it was only after a long painstaking study of the canvas that it was proved that the latter had nothing to do with Korzukhin’s work. This serves as another proof of the extraordinary talent of the artist.

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