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The great master of the Russian landscape Isaac Ilyich Levitan was born into a large and friendly Jewish family in a provincial Lithuanian town near the Polish border. His “non-Russian” origin until the end of his life will cause humiliation and deprivation, but will not force him to leave the country, which has always been a source of inspiration for him, no matter what.
Financial difficulties forced the artist's family to move to Moscow, where at the age of 13 Levitan entered the Art College. Years of study were full of success and trouble. Not all educators liked that their student was Jewish. And Levitan’s enthusiasm for the Russian landscape seemed to the masters played and insincere. The master was lucky with the main teachers - Perov, Savrasov and Polenov. They managed to discern future talent in the first timid and uncertain strokes of the schoolboy, therefore they treated student Levitan in a special way.
The early death of their parents nearly erased their education plans. Helped teachers and friends. The young artist works tirelessly. In the late 70s of the 19th century, Levitan met Chekhov. This acquaintance was important for both. It is difficult to imagine more spiritually close people, equally talented, equally subtle feeling of beauty.
During the student exhibition in 1879, one of the works of a student of Levitan (Autumn Day. Sokolniki.) For 100 rubles is bought by Tretyakov himself. It would seem that from this moment on, life should change for the better. But no, in the same year Levitan, like all Jews, was expelled from Moscow. Only a year later, thanks to the efforts of influential friends, he managed to return back.
In the period from 1880 to 1885, the artist creates his famous canvases "Autumn", "Pines", "First Snow". The master becomes famous, his works are popular. In the 85th year, instead of an artist’s diploma, the school issues Levitan a diploma of “teacher of calligraphy”. Another humiliation affects the health of the artist. He is leaving for Crimea. The result of this trip was a series of landscapes that received rave reviews from critics.
The next success is the paintings of the “Volga” period of life. Thanks to the numerous works created in the vicinity of the city of Ples, Levitan finally gets rid of financial difficulties and becomes famous. Now the artist is sent to Europe. There he meets the best examples of the French landscape. The search for the impressionists is very close in spirit to the master.
In the very beginning of the 90s Levitan entered the society of “Wanderers”. At the association’s exhibitions, his masterpieces appear: “At the pool”, “Summer”, “October”. And then again expulsion from Moscow. This time, so influential friends bothered for the artist that the forced exile in the Tver and Vladimir provinces did not last long, but the humiliation further undermined his health. It was in his forced exile that Levitan writes one of his most profound and talented works - Vladimirka.
In 1894, the artist creates a canvas, which is considered to be the pinnacle of his work - “Above Eternal Peace”. None of the Russian artists, before Levitan, in his work approached such a high poetry and sensuality in the depiction of nature.
In subsequent years, the artist worked tirelessly - “March”, “Golden Autumn”, “Fresh Wind. Volga ”- these are only those that were recognized as masterpieces during the lifetime of the master. In 1898, Isaac Levitan received the title of academician and the right to teach at the Art School. But his health by this time was completely upset.
His latest work, filled with sunny optimism and warmth - “Lake. Russia ”- he never finished. The heart of the great Russian artist Isaac Ilyich Levitan stopped on August 4, 1900.