Ivan Shishkin (1832–1898): At the Edge of the Pine Forest9/11/2021, 5:50:09 PM
Ivan Shishkin (1832–1898): At the Edge of the Pine Forest, 1897, oil on canvas, 109 x 162cm In this work by Shiskin, we see the bearded figure of a lone, elderly cart driver with his back to the viewer, driving along the path down into the valley below. The setting is the rye fields of Lekarevskoe, at the edge of the pine forest outside Elabuga, which look down over the tightly winding River Kama. In Shishkin’s work the rye field often stands as a symbol for bread, for man’s activity but also his nourishment. The little huts just visible at the edge of the field are the only other sign of human life and activity in this painting but they too are dwarfed by the sheer vastness of the landscape. Within this praise to the richness and variety of the Russian landscape the artist has embedded a self-portrait and a sort of artistic summation, placing himself in the land of his birth in his final years.