Before the likes of Wassily Kandinsky and Kazimir Malevich, Ivan Shishkin was a famous artist in Russia. Similar in style to great artists of the Impressionist era, Shishkin used very fine brush strokes to mimic the elegant flow of nature. Whether it's a small, mottled pond, or an expanse of woodland, his beautiful paintings are sure to fill your room with subtle beauty. Explore The Canvas Art Factory collection of breathtaking canvas art prints by the landscape painter Ivan Shishkin today.
Ivan Shishkin was born Konstantin Apollonovich Savitsky in 1844. Shishkin had been a student at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture before continuing his studies at the Imperial Academy of Arts. Shishkin was an avid traveller, explorer, and has trekked through the natural wonders of Karelia. One of Shishkin’s influences early in his career had been another Russian landscape artist, Ivan Aivazovsky.
A scholarship granted to Shishkin early in his career allowed him to travel abroad to Europe. There, he lived for a period of time in Switzerland and Germany, allowing another culture of people to witness his work. Prolific in his artmaking ability, Shishkin taught art for over twenty years, teaching in art schools of Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and Penza. A respected man who in turn respected the art, he became a member of the Imperial Academy of Arts in 1897. Success as an artist allowed Shishkin to own a dacha (country house) in Vyra, the south of St. Petersburg. Vyra was the perfect location to reside in for a landscape artist.
Ivan Shishkin was a Russian Realist painter whose best-known paintings are subjects on landscapes and all that inhabits the landscapes. Within the world of the landscape, Shishkin depicted the changing of seasons in the woods, yet always painting them in a way that they seem inviting and warm rather than frightening and foreboding. Along with the Russian artist Isaac Levitan, Shishkin was part of a group of artists called the Peredvizhniki, also known as The Wanderers. These artists protested the restraints of the academy, evoking similar protests by the French Impressionists against the academy and Salon.
The same year Vincent van Gogh painted Starry Night, Ivan Shishkin painted Morning in a Pine Forest. Morning in a Pine Forest is based on the pine trees near Narva-Joesuu, Estonia, which Shishkin would have known about since he spent many summers there. There is, however, a twist to this painting as the Russian artist was not alone in creating Morning in a Pine Forest. Konstantin Savitsky contributed to the canvas by painting the three bears seen playing deep in the forest. Despite this, Morning in a Pine Forest is commonly attributed to Shishkin solely, although we now know that Savitsky had a role. This is because Pavel Tretyakov, an art collector, effaced Savitsky’s signature from the painting. Nevertheless, the painting is stunning, with the warmth of the woods hailing directly from Shishkin’s style.
One of the last paintings created by Ivan Shishkin is At the Edge of a Pine Forest. The painting features the fields near Yelabuga (today known as Tatarstan, Russia). While Shishkin had been an elderly man at the time and probably hadn’t travelled to Yelabuga in a long time, it is believed he painted At the Edge of a Pine Forest from memory. The last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II, once tried to acquire the painting from the artist, so admired was the painting. However, it was the artist’s nephew who successfully bought At the Edge of a Pine Forest. After Shishkin’s nephew took it abroad, it eventually ended up in the hands of the Belgian artist Charles Defreyn. Generations forward, and now in the hands of Defreyn’s descendants, they recently sold the painting for over two million dollars.