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Isaac Levitan (1860-1900) Vita ed Opere



Isaak Il'ič Levitan / Исаак Ильич Левитан è stato un pittore, docente e paesaggista Russo.
Levitan nacque nel villaggio di Kibarti (governatorato di Kaunas, Lituania) da una famiglia povera, ma amante della cultura.
Il padre, figlio di un rabbino, aveva frequentato la scuola ebraica e si era poi ulteriormente formato come autodidatta. A Kaunas era insegnante di francese e tedesco, e lavorava come traduttore presso il cantiere del ponte ferroviario, appaltato a una ditta francese.

Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter

Agli inizi degli anni settanta la sua famiglia si trasferì a Mosca dove, nel 1873, Isaak fu ammesso all'Istituto tecnico di pittura, scultura e architettura, già frequentato, dal 1871, da suo fratello maggiore Avel' e dove ebbe tra i suoi insegnanti Vasilij Perov, Aleksej Savrasov e Vasilij Polenov.
Nel 1875 morì sua madre e si ammalò gravemente suo padre. Questi, costretto dalla malattia a lasciare il lavoro presso le ferrovie, si trovò nell'impossibilità di mantenere, con le ripetizioni private, i quattro figli.
Le condizioni della famiglia erano tali che l'Istituto di tanto in tanto elargiva ai due fratelli sussidi e, nel 1876, li esonerò dal pagamento della retta «in considerazione delle [loro] condizioni di estrema indigenza» e dei loro «meriti nell'attività artistica».
Nel 1877 il padre di Levitan morì di tifo. Per Isaak, per il fratello e le sorelle sopravvenne un periodo di estrema difficoltà e indigenza.
A quel tempo l'artista frequentava la classe di Perov. Un amico di questi, Savrasov, notò le sue capacità e lo prese nella propria classe, quella "dei paesaggi". Nello stesso anno due opere di Levitan, esposte in una mostra, furono notate dalla stampa e il sedicenne artista ricevette una medaglia d'argento piccola e 220 rubli «per poter continuare la sua attività».

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Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter

Nel 1885 terminò gli studi.
Tra il 1889-1890 Levitan viaggiò in Francia e in Italia. Nel 1891 divenne membro dell'Associazione delle mostre d'arte itineranti.
Nel 1892 Levitan, in quanto «ebreo non battezzato», fu costretto ad abbandonare Mosca e per un certo periodo visse nel governatorato di Tver' e in quello di Vladimir.
Le premure dei suoi amici ebbero successo e all'artista fu permesso di tornare a Mosca. Per la sua attività ebbe grande rilievo il suo soggiorno, in questo periodo, nella città di Plës, sul Volga.
Credente e praticante per tutta la vita, Levitan osservava puntualmente tutti i precetti della religione ebraica, incluso il divieto di raffigurare immagini umane.
Fatta eccezione per l'Autoritratto, da lui dipinto nel 1880, in una soltanto delle sue opere compare una figura femminile: il quadro Giornata d'autunno. Sokol'niki, dove però, secondo varie testimonianze, la figura della donna fu dipinta, per Levitan, da Nikolaj Čechov, fratello del famoso scrittore. Dal 1898 Levitan fu insegnante all'Istituto tecnico di pittura, scultura e architettura.
L'artista morì il 22 luglio (4 agosto del calendario gregoriano) del 1900, a Mosca.

Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter

Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter

Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter

Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter

Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter

Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter

Isaak Ilyich Levitan - Lithuanian-born Jewish painter who was one of Russia’s most influential landscape artists and the founder of what has been called the "mood landscape".
Levitan’s childhood and youth were marked by poverty and the death of his parents; his mother died when he was 15 years old and his father, a railroad worker, two years later. The bleakness of his early life may well have inspired his subsequent artistic evolution. Contemporary critics see the wide expanses in his paintings as a compensation for his memory of the Pale of Settlement. Even when he was well known, he was evicted from Moscow as an "unbaptised Jew".
Among Levitan’s teachers at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture (1873-75) were Aleksey Savrasov, who had first developed lyricism in Russian landscape painting, and Vasily Polenov.
Levitan considered himself the spiritual heir of Savrasov and saw it as his mission to combine an interest in atmospheric dynamics with his capacity to reveal poetry in the lives of humble Russian peasants and to uncover the spiritualizing results of poverty.

Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter

Epic panoramas had already appeared alongside intimate motifs in Savrasov’s work, and the difference between an étude (study) and the finished painting was becoming imperceptible, anticipating the complete passion for étude (called étudism in Russia) of the 1890s.
Levitan brought to these trends a formal clarity, both broadening the scope of his mentors’ artistic program and unifying its disparate elements in his markedly individual and romantic style. The result was an effect that his friend writer Anton Chekhov termed levitanisty. This new style was adopted by a new generation of Moscow landscape artists.
Most of them were Levitan’s students at the Moscow art school (his erstwhile and not always kind alma mater), to which he returned in 1897 - at the peak of his fame - to teach landscape painting.

Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter

The path from his paintings such as Autumn Day, Sokolniki Park (1879; bought by Pavel Tretyakov, founder of the Tretyakov Gallery) to his "epic" The Lake, Russia (1900) did not follow a trajectory from the studies to unified compositions. Levitan’s love for open expanses always coexisted with a sharp and complete vision (The Month of March, 1895).
Dreaminess - the lightly agitated attraction toward what exists as an image of beauty but cannot be captured - caused Levitan to respond by amplifying colour and adding dynamism to texture. Indeed, the plein-air quality of his painting at times surpassed that of the French Impressionists.

Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter

In the 1890s Levitan, for the first time, traveled to western Europe, staying in Berlin, Ger.; Paris, Nice, and Menton, France; and Bordighera, Venice, and Florence, Italy.
In France he learned firsthand about Impressionism, which was of particular interest to him. His travels in Italy resulted in sketches and paintings of Italian landscapes.
Levitan was everyone’s landscape artist. He was equally valued by the Peredvizhniki ("Wanderers"), which group he joined in 1891, and by the younger generation of painters opening up to trends from the West. The personal element he brought to traditional objective landscape painting earned him the admiration of all those inspired by the Russian landscape. | © Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter

Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter

Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter

Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter

Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter

Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter

Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter

Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter

Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter

Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter

Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter

Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter Isaac Levitan 1860-1900 | Landscape russian painter