Artist: Arkhip Kuinji
Date: 1890–95
Media: Oil on paper mounted on canvas
Dimensions: 38.7 x 55.5 cm
Ownership: Russian Museum, St Petersburg
Arkhip Kuinji Society, Leningrad (until 1930)


This painting belongs to the “reclusive” period in the art of Arkhip Kuinji, who stopped contributing to exhibitions after 1882. The artist did not show any new works to the public, preferring instead to engage in experiments with paints and searching for new means of expression close to Symbolism and Art Nouveau.

The tones and mood make this one of the most subtle pictures of Kuinji’s mature period. The simplified forms and sharp contrasts of colours create a sensation of estrangement and the fantastic transformation of life. The illusion of twilight is achieved by the audaciously generalised forms and the exact colour relations.

Nature is enigmatic and mysterious in the final moments of the dying day. A few minutes later and the crescent moon and the lantern in the window of the distant house will be the only guiding lights. The flowing lines of the winding road and the undulating landscape lend a poetic and elegiac note to this otherwise terse canvas.

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