27 Nov 2013
Blagovest, signed, also further signed, numbered "N 16/104" and dated 1916 on the reverse.
Oil on canvas, 107 by 134 cm.
Provenance: Private collection, Europe.
Authenticity of the work has been confirmed by the experts S. Krivondenchenkov and P. Klimov.
Authenticity has also been confirmed by the expert V. Petrov.
Related literature: For an earlier version of the present lot, see exhibition catalogue, XXXIX Exhibition of the Society for Itinerant Art Exhibitions, Moscow, 1911, No. 24–113, listed.
Narodnoe delo, No. 12, December 1911, illustrated.
Nikolai Dubovskoy was one of the most popular Russian landscape painters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He came to prominence in 1884 when his picture Winter attracted attention at the 12th exhibition of the Society for Itinerant Exhibitions. He was a major participant in all the Society’s later exhibitions, showing more than 700 of his best canvasses. His works were highly prized by Vladimir Stasov and Ilya Repin, and Pavel Tretyakov regularly bought paintings by Dubovskoy for his collection.
Dubovskoy never lost his affection for winter themes and created a whole gallery of exuberant paintings with a nationalistic and romantic flavour. The winter cycle of the 1910s, devoted to views of Sergiev Posad and its monastery, are among the finest of these works.
The present lot, Blagovest, dated 1916, is undoubtedly a new version by the artist of a 1911 composition, which was shown at the 39th Itinerant exhibition and is today known from its reproduction in the 1911 issue of the periodical Narodnoe Delo. Working on images of the Trinity Lavra Monastery at Sergiev Posad in 1916–1917, Dubovskoy returned frequently to his earlier paintings, repeating and producing variations on themes that had proved popular. For example, the painting Trinity Lavra of St Sergius(1917), now in the Rostov Regional Museum of Fine Arts, is a continuation of a composition from 1911, in the collection of the Novcherkassk Museum.
Inspired by the Monastery landscape, Dubovskoy finds his own range of subjects and generates a particular style of representation. His views of the ancient buildings always have a panoramic character: their broad canvas encompasses an epic view of the Monastery walls, domes and bell towers, but also includes lively genre scenes in the foreground. The classical clarity of composition of Blagovest and its harmonious colouration, built on subtle transitions and gradations of white and pink, are surprisingly effective in conveying the light of a winter evening.
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