Winter in Russia with Konstantin Ivanovich Gorbatov

Zimniy vecer by Konstantin 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.

Torzhok by Konstantin Gorbatov

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.

Old Pscov by Konstantin Gorbatov

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!

A Winter’s Day by Konstantin Gorbatov

30 Replies to “Winter in Russia with Konstantin Ivanovich Gorbatov”

  1. After reading all of these great comments, I do not know what more I can say, but THANK YOU. The winter scenes you have chosen to include are beautiful. The history that you include is interesting, I always learn.
    Please continue your gift for writing, your choice of subjects and the history you open for me is exciting and enlarges my view of the world. I just took time to look carefully look at the paintings that you chose. Thank you, they are beautiful.

    1. I am delighted that you enjoyed this post, Frances. I have always enjoyed the winter months because they have a sense of homecoming, warmth, a good book and a cup of tea.There are so many wonderful artists that are unknown to me. Looking back into time is like going on a treasure hunt. So glad you joined me in this adventure.

  2. I am touched! That’s is exactly how Russian spring looks like. And I am missing it here, in The Netherlands. Specially the feeling of hope and freedom after so long and cold winter : about 5 month a year you can expect the snow and frost everyday. (But probably not anymore, due to the climate issue). Thank you for sharing it!

    1. I am thrilled that you liked this post. I would love to follow you, but unfortunately I can’t read Russian. What a wonderful language!! Your visit and comments are very very much appreciated.

  3. Another interesting artist…they always are! The warmth and affection of his style juxtaposed with the cold weather he portrays are unique. One can feel the nostalgia, and these are indeed a nice complement to our Eugene Onegin reading.

  4. Those are very gorgeous paintings! I love the style.
    The history is wonderful. I adore this blog! thank you, Rebecca!

    1. Thank you so much for your heartwarming comments, Resa. Winter is a special season and I wanted to say goodbye to to it by looking back at how winter is portrayed in paintings.

      1. Your art posts are amazing! I’ll make it over to TT&T later tonight or in the morning with my coffee. Okay I know tea is the cuppa, but I need a coffee in the morning! LOL!

  5. I really enjoyed reading about Gorbatov and seeing his wintery scenes. The light in the lats one is beautiful!

    1. I was thinking of you when I was creating with post, especially when I read that Gorbatov was good friends with Boris Pasternak’s father. So many connections – exciting stuff. You have opened Russia to me.

  6. Die Wintergemälde von Ivanovic Gorbatov sprechen mich sehr an und gefallen mir. Sie zeigen mit Ausnahme des letzten Bildes immer Menschen und Tiere, einfache, schön komponierte Bilder aus dem Leben.

    1. Vielen Dank für Ihren Besuch und Ihre aufschlussreichen Kommentare. Genau. Ivanovic Gorbatov hatte eine wunderbare Möglichkeit, die Orte zu malen, an denen er lebte und besuchte. Er liebte die Bewegung und die Ereignisse des Stadtlebens. In jedem Gemälde steckt eine Geschichte.

  7. Oh Rebecca, after reading this I’d love to be sipping tea with the last painting you’ve highlighted upon my wall. But, certainly not whilst in Oymyakon. Oy!
    I am always struck by the colour blue; in nature, cloth; in fact anywhere!
    This last piece is reminiscent of Monet; one of my most favourite artists of all.

    1. I will be joining you for tea, Carolyn. I love Monet – he has a honesty mixed with humbleness. A few years ago, Vancouver Art Gallery had a Monet exhibition of his later paintings when his eyesight was failing. His colours had turned from spring to autumn. And yet, so beautiful for therein was his indomitable desire to continue, no matter what circumstances followed him. It brought me to tears and was, for me, a call to action. To persevere, to move ever forward with joy and determination.

      1. This quote, I believe, sums up the man and his paintings, Rebecca.
        “Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love.”

  8. What a total treat for the eyes, thank you! One of the reasons that Dr Zhivago is my favourite ever film is those beautiful, epic, sweeping, snowy landscapes. Of course, because the book was at that time still banned in Russia, it was actually mostly filmed in Span (the Moscow scenes were filmed on the outskirts of Madrid; the Ice Palace at Varykino was filmed at Soria). Nevertheless, even though I know this, I still think of it all as being in Russia (credit to David Lean’s skill and talents, I guess!), and so have this most romantic notion of winter there. And linked to this, snowy impressionist paintings are my favourite type, so thank you, thank you for introducing me to Gorbatov’s work which I look forward to exploring further. Hugs!! xxx

    1. And here is a very interesting tidbit for your to share with Joan! She will be at the very spot where some of the Dr. Zhivago scenes were taken. What I found out was that most of the train scenes were done in Finland (lots of snow there) but there was a Canadian location (lots of snow here too). “The railway scenes were filmed in Finland, on the track laid during the 1940 Russian invasion, at the town of Joensuu, in eastern Finland, 100 miles from the real Russian border. The refugees’ trek was also filmed here, at Lake Pyhäselkä. There was even a little second unit filming in the Canadian Rockies, providing more mountain views for the train scenes.”https://www.movie-locations.com/movies/d/Doctor-Zhivago.php And the place that these stock shots of rail travel were take – Lake Louise, the very place that Joan will be traveling by train. Exciting stuff.

      It seems that winter is winter is winter. I loved that Ice Palace and those desolate, yet romantic barren landscapes. I am with you – I will always think that the movie was filmed in Russia. Many many hugs coming your way.

      1. Marvellous! A truly international filming story to match the international nature of the novel’s journey into being. Xxx

    1. Ah, dear Cindy. As they say “it takes one to know one.” Or how about “birds of a feature flock together.” Many hugs!

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