U.S.A., Washington State. USDA zone 8a. Sunset climate zone 5

Monday, May 11, 2009

Grandmother's Garden

To see larger image, click on the picture
How do you feel looking at the painting? I feel sad, but this sadness is good, warm one.
Vasiliy Polenov, 1844-1927.
Russian painter, landscape writer, genre painter, an author of paintings on historical themes, scene-painter, architect, illustrator.

Polenov belonged to the group "Itinerants".
"By the end of the first half of the 19th Century, Russian intellectuals supported the need for reform in Russia. Russia had entered the age of capital development. Influenced by the liberal ideas of Chernyshevsky and Belinski, the Itinerant movement established the first Free Society of Artists in Russia. The founding of the Itinerant's movement was a measure calculated to express the need for rejection of the social order in Tsarist Russia. The objectives of the Itinerants were:
- the enlightenment of the people by affording them the opportunity to learn about the new Russian art;
- the aesthetic objective of forming a new artistic sense and taste;
- the economic objective of attracting new buyers in order to have a market for the new art.
With the onset of the itinerant movement, new terms to describe Russian art began to be heard. Phrases such as "enlightening," "aesthetic objective," "economic objective," "new," "fresh," "for the first time" were heard all over the country. This was the first time in the history of the Russian world of art that the subject matter was rich and expansive. The method used by these artists was to conduct traveling art exhibits in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other large cities throughout Russia."

From The Immortal Itinerants (Peredvizhniki)
by Michael E.Donnelly, Ph.D.


  1. I know very little about Russian art history....Fascinating. I think it is a melancholy sort of painting!

  2. I think it's a little sad too. But it also seems to show a caring relationship between the two women.
    Very pretty painting.

  3. QWhat a lovely painting. I don't know anything about Russian Art. This reminds me of Tissot, but is lovely. Sad and hopeful all at the same time.

  4. Ой, не думаю, что в работах Поленова присутствует меланхолия:-))) Наверное, это всё-таки что-то другое. У него вообще очень светлые и тихие картины. "Заросший пруд", "Старая мельница", "Бабушкин сад" - это одни из самых тихих и светлых его работ - я его обожаю, в нём какое-то особенное чувствование размеренности жизни с её не искусственным, а настоящим и гармоничным сочетанием природы и человека. А как в "Бабушкином саду" всё гармонично. Вроде бы печально - старость, усадьба приходит в упадок, но нет печали, нет уныния.

  5. Yes, very interesting. I'd just taken for granted that pictures could be seen in public galleries and so on. This makes me consider the political and economic effects of art, which I hadn't before.

    I love the painting. The house seems rather grand for the apparent neglect of the garden; perhaps it has been dramatized and romanticised, maybe even in order to make a point about relations between the generations. The contrast of the two ladies' outfits is striking too.

  6. Very nice art history lesson and very nice painting.

  7. I've seen this painting before, but had never history behind it.


  8. To me, it speaks of resilience! It seems as though they once had a grand life, but have fallen on some misfortune, but are getting by or through it and can count on each other!

  9. AnonymousMay 12, 2009

    Thanks for sharing and calling attention to the artist.

  10. The painting is very beautiful. I dearly love old art. Mine isn't as grande but I have a (very) small collection of calendar prints from the 40s that I just love to look at so much. And one newer Kinkaide I got because it reminded us of where my Grandfather homesteaded on the Olympic Peninsula and where we have a Pioneer Reunion every year for about 30 years now.
    You are always so informative with your art posts.

  11. Great post! I learned a lot from it. I love learning these sort of things. We have a museum here in the Boston area - Isabella Stewart Gardner museum. She lived back in the late 1800s - early 1900's. She was very progressive and mixed art and gardening. You can check out the website:

  12. I love the painting most especially the house in the background. It's so beautiful with it's lovely white porch columns, winding pathway leading to the stairs, etc. A lot of character in the architecture for sure. That's what my eye went to first even tho I saw the two people in the foreground ~ I didn't focus on them ~ just went straight to the house!! What does that say about me?!!

  13. Wow, how'd you like to live in that house, with the gorgeous pillars. The garden looks so established, with the billowing foliage. That's the beauty of countries with such a long history.

  14. AnonymousMay 12, 2009

    I love the painting and it makes me feel connected to the past, and by extension, the future too...

    Um, are there a lot of those rogue potatoes in your garden? (your right sidebar) Should the rest of us be concerned about invasion? ;)

    Plant Lady


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