Composition on Shishkin’s painting “Before the Thunderstorm”

Composition on Shishkin’s painting “Before the Thunderstorm”

Shishkin Ivan Ivanovich – a famous Russian landscape painter of the second half of the 19th century, perhaps one of his most popular paintings is “Morning in a Pine Forest.” The peculiarity of the image of nature in Shishkin’s works characterizes him as a talented draftsman, because no detail is deprived of attention, and if it is, for example, a pine forest, then each tree is depicted with the utmost precision.

Perhaps this is the secret of the perception of Shishkin’s works, when you look at his works – you want to be near a stream in a forest, on a pine glade or on a meadow before a thunderstorm.

The painting “Before the Storm” was written in oil in 1884, by this time Shishkin had traveled for 18 years across Russia, creating realistic landscapes of his native country. Despite the fact that the general mood of the canvas is disturbing, it is pleasant to look at it. This is achieved through the use of light tones in the foreground. Grass and wild flowers in the meadow, falling under the sunlight, passing from yellow to green, and then into the dark green color of the water, carry the atmosphere of waiting for the storm, designed to defuse the stress that has accumulated in nature.

The color transition in the sky is also amazing, it seems, the artist used the maximum shades of blue-gray colors, the clouds from the gray become in the background dark blue, almost merging with the blackened distant forest.

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I’m attracted by the alternation of light and dark tones on the ground: beyond the pond we see another section of meadow illuminated by the rays of the sun. There is a feeling that until the shadow of the approaching storm falls on him, we will not hear a roll of thunder or the sound of rain. Thus, the colors change from green to dark green, the edge of the water turns black, reflecting the trees hanging over the pond, and at the same time it echoes the yellowing grass in the background. This technique emphasizes the characteristics of summer thunderstorms, they are stormy, but, as a rule, fast. After a while, the sun will again paint the clearing and play with highlights on the water.

In the meantime, we see a frozen nature waiting for waiting: there is no ripples on the water, the trees look frozen, and even the grass is pressed to the ground. Nothing prevents the slowly creeping clouds from erasing the last bright colors. I also do not have a desire to stop them, I look at the picture, and I want lightning flashed, a shower began, I want to see how the earth will absorb water, and the smooth surface of the pond will drip under the drops.

I. Shishkin was able to depict such a customary and native Russian phenomenon with a characteristic for him love for detail, you can see the leaves of daisies in the foreground, he was able to accurately convey the atmosphere of pre-threatening minutes – each fragment of the picture indicates that he wrote with soul, and not mechanically sketching what he sees. Probably, this is one more reason for the relevance of the artist’s work during his lifetime, and in our days.


Composition on Shishkin’s painting “Before the Thunderstorm”