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

24 Comments »

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

    • 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.

  3. 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.

    • 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.

  4. 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

    • 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.

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