Winter in Russia with Konstantin Ivanovich Gorbatov
Константин Иванович Горбатов, Konstantin Ivanovich Gorbatov May 17, 1876 – May 24, 1945 was a Russian post-impressionist painter. He was born in Stavropol in the Samara province, but he moved many times in his life as can be seen by his winter scenes.
Gorbatov did not envision himself as a painter. When he was around 20 years old, he took up the study of civil engineering in the city of Riga where he lived from 1896 – 1903. In 1904, Gorbatov was in St. Petersburg studying at the Baron Stieglitz Central School for Technical Draftsmanship. But then, he decided on architecture when he joined the architecture department of the Imperial Academy of Arts. Another pivot in his studies found him turning to painting under the guidance of Nikolay Nikanorovich Dubovskoy.
Gorbatov had found his calling. Soon after, he received a scholarship and travel to Rome and Capri to gain experience and knowledge. He returned to St. Petersburg to participate in a Peredvizhniki exhibition. (Peredvizhniki, which translates to “Wanderers or The Itinerants” in English were a group of Russian realist artists who formed an artists’ cooperative in protest of academic restrictions.)
And then came the Russian Revolution.
In 1922, Gorbatov left Russia permanently following the Russian Revolution of 1917 and settled on the Italian island of Capri and then in Berlin. There is more to his story, but for now, I am enjoying his winter scenes.
Russia is known for winters. Visions of frozen tundra, cold, unrelenting winds and harsh and barren landscapes comes to mind. This is a stereotype. Russia is huge country and weather patterns are varied depending upon locations. For example, St Petersburg’s winter temperature, even in the deepest part of winter, rarely drops below -10 Celsius . But if you want to travel to the coldest inhabited place on earth, head over to a tiny village in Yakutia, on the far eastern side of Russian. Oymyakon, with a population of just over 500, located along the Indigirka River is very, very cold. I understand that Oymyakon’s lowest registered temperature occurred in 1924 – a daunting, are you ready for this!? It was – 71.2 degrees Celsius or -96.2 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring out the tea!