8 June 2011
Christ by the Sea of Galilee, .
Oil on canvas, 31 by 64.5 cm.
The great Russian artist Vasily Polenov could rightfully be called the father of Russian Impressionism. His rich, sun-filled studies, painted from life, make up a large part of Polenov's extensive oeuvre, in which the plein air sketches of Bible locations occupy a major place. Many views of Lake Tiberias by Polenov are well known, and these served as a basis for his renowned series from the life of Christ. It is one of these views which is offered here for auction. This work is uncommonly painterly. The contrast between the full-bodied dark blue colour of the water, the delicate pale-blue of the sky and the sunlit hilly shore opposite gives the overall picture an elevated, uplifted mood, in no way presaging the tragedy of the passion of Christ. The small figure of Jesus, sitting on a rock by the lake, at the very edge of the water, endows the work with an elegiac nature and brings a certain life to the peace and equilibrium of its overall mood. The style of the painting is typical of Vasily Polenov's overall output of the mid-1880s and clearly reveals the product of the artist's creative endeavours.
Notes on symbols:
* Indicates 5% Import Duty Charge applies.
Ω Indicates 20% Import Duty Charge applies.
§ Indicates Artist's Resale Right applies.
† Indicates Standard VAT scheme applies, and the rate of 20% VAT will be charged on both hammer price and premium.