LEVITAN, Isaak Ilyich
(b. 1860, Kibarta, d. 1900, Moscow)

Birch Grove

1885-89
Oil on paper on canvas, 29 x 50 cm
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

Levitan was unequalled in his ability to evoke a veritably pantheist sense of vastness of landscape, or the dappling of light in a birch grove with its rhythmic, delicately structured colour harmonies. He rejected the Impressionism of Monet, nonetheless, his paintings reveal a thoroughly Impressionist sensitivity to phenomena of light and the autonomy of pure, strong colours.