Before a Storm

Artist: Ivan Shishkin
Date: 1884
Media: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 110 x 150 cm
Ownership: Russian Museum, St Petersburg
Style: Realism
Before a Storm


One of Ivan Shishkin’s favourite motifs was water amid greenery – whether it was a brook, a river or simply a swamp. In this painting, he subtly comprehends and poetically reproduces the tense moment when a rain cloud approaches and nature seems seized by a state of alarm.

The sky and the water in the stream darken. Only the last rays of sunshine breaking through the cloud throw light on the path and the grass and flowers shaking in the wind in the foreground.

Although the subject of this canvas is momentary and fleeting, the artist depicts the water, earth and vegetation in an extremely realistic and expressive manner. The subtle gradations of colour help to convey the texture and volume of the real, objective world of nature.

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