Kustodiev Boris – “Walking on the Volga”
The characterization of types and settings, perfected by Kustodiev, in the images of festivities in the provincial Volga cities, makes it possible to create real masterpieces. In the painting “Walking on the Volga” in 1909, the public on the embankment is depicted as if from somewhere from the side and from above, in order to more widely embrace in the “distant” image various scenes between the pavilion and the descent to the pier. The view of the Volga with rafts and a steamer, white spots of houses and a church with a bell tower on the opposite meadow bank was painted from a different perspective than the embankment, in order to achieve the greatest expressiveness of this part of the picture. Kustodiev built it, and did not reproduce a specific view, subordinating observations to the main task – the vitality of the picture as a new reality, created according to the rules of art. The “far” position allows Kustodiev to translate the volumes of the figures into silhouette color spots. People are succinctly characterized by the expressiveness of posture, gesture, costume, and relationships. With quick and precise movements of the brush, the artist outlines the images of a lady and a fat man with a cane, peering at something in the “Water” kiosk, young ladies in hats, with whom young people are trying to make acquaintance, women in headscarves, looking at a “clean” audience, a brass band in pavilion.
The landscape plays an important role in this work. The smooth surface of the river with the reflection of the sky, conveyed by subtle nuances of color, with its calmness sets off the dynamics of the walk. It is characteristic that Kustodiev portrayed the crowd not as something single (such images are rare for him), but as a crowding, diverse multitude, distinguished by a wealth of type.
The works of Kustodiev, with their sharp-sightedness and sharp-sightedness of observation, are entertaining – when you get to know them, just a general impression is not enough – they must be considered literally “frame by frame” in order to fully reveal the idea of the picture, both deliberate and striking freshness, direct perception of life.
Year of painting: 1909.
Painting dimensions: 100 x 125 cm.
Writing technique: oil.
Genre: genre painting.
Gallery: State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.