26 November 2014
Crossing the River in the Caucasus Mountains, signed.
Oil on canvas, 72.5 by 104.5 cm.
Provenance: With the Tomasz Metlewicz Gallery, Vienna, in 1988.
Private collection, Europe.
Authenticity of the work has been confirmed by the expert V. Petrov.
When admiring Crossing the River in the Caucasus Mountains, we immediately sense Lev Lagorio’s deeply Romantic style, capturing hues in the natural environment evocative of moods and feelings, which indicate both a Russian and Italian influence. Lagorio’s artistic influence can be traced to his own origins. Born into the family of the Neapolitan Vice-Consul in Feodosia, Lagorio shared a penchant for both his native Crimean coast and his Italian heritage.
In Crossing the River in the Caucasus Mountains Lagorio wonderfully combines both dramatic and highly idyllic scenery, which creates a sense of tranquility and an overwhelming feeling of natural beauty. The painter portrays a peaceful shimmering blue river in the foreground with staffage, while the tall Caucasus Mountains stand proudly in the background. His talent for rendering water in its various states can be explained through his childhood spent on the coast, under the direct influence of his teacher, Russia’s most renowned seascape artist, Ivan Aivazovsky. Lagorio’s artistic path would lead to his fame as one of the most talented 19th century seascape and landscape artists.
After graduating from the Imperial Academy of Arts in 1850, where he was taught by Maxim Vorobiev and Bogdan Villevalde, Lagorio was awarded the highest rank a painter could possibly receive – that of the First Grade Painter. The award meant a study tour abroad. Before leaving his homeland Lagorio was first sent to the Caucasus on an artistic mission. The Caucasus Mountains captivated him and would leave a deep and permanent imprint on the painter. After a tour of Europe and having lived in Italy, Lagorio returned to his homeland and became a revered professor at the Academy.
Although he had painted many sea and landscapes, we can feel a certain freshness in his impression and a wonderful sincerity in Crossing the River in the Caucasus Mountains, reminiscent of the Italianate landscapes he familiarised himself with during his stay in Europe. The present work is a prime example of his mature period and illustrates Lagorio’s evident talent for rendering both light and shade in the misty mountain valley and on water.
Notes on symbols:
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§ Indicates Artist's Resale Right applies.
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