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The well-known landscape painter Savrasov, on the eve of important changes in life, foreseeing and foreshadowing them, paints a picture quite difficult to perceive - “Rye”, in which all the heavy thoughts that worried the artist during this period were reflected. The painting was created in 1881, significant for the artist by the fact that his wife was leaving him at that time, they were also fired and the painter rushed about in search of a new, something unusual and exciting.
He writes "Rye" as it should be before the storm. The rye field froze on the eve of a thunderstorm, clouds hung in the foreground, ready to spill hundreds of heavy drops. And in the distance everything is clean, but already awaits the arrival of wind and rain. The rye field looks darker, the brighter the rye that grows on it, it bends under the wind, unable to oppose it, while not wanting such obedience. A heavy gloomy cloud, similar to the artist’s life, which by this time also began to resemble this rye field, in anticipation of a thunderstorm.
And it seems as if the wind will carry the rain past, but it’s not so, the cloud hangs too low, the sun gradually disappears and a shadow spreads from the foreground of the picture to the horizon, absorbing more and more earth every second, leaving only a crimson reflection of ripe rye. There you can see a white church in the distance, as a symbol of protection from impending darkness, it is lit by the passing sun and therefore is clearly visible from afar.
White clouds are spreading across the sky from this church, ready, it seemed, to protect the earth from impending darkness, but they are powerless, the cloud is too black. For people who are not afraid of the vicissitudes of nature, the picture evokes a wild delight that sets in when a real thunderstorm is expected, while the rest are filled with gloomy gloom, as if they had experienced the full force of a violent element that is about to throw their forces into this field.
Critics compare this canvas with the picture of the same name by Shishkin I., which appeared several years earlier, but if Shishkin had rye in a state of majestic and beautiful peace, then Savrasov captured it at the moment of the greatest alarm that is transmitted to everyone who has ever seen this picture.
Donatello St. George