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Shishkin is generally famous for his paintings depicting the Russian forest at any time of the year. But more than others, the artist liked to write oaks and pines. He appreciated the former for the power radiated by them, and the latter attracted Shishkin with their grace and refinement.
The painting "Oaks" is a mature work of Shishkin. It was created in 1887. The nature for the artist was Dubka Park, located near St. Petersburg.
In the foreground of the painting are three oaks. We can say that these magnificent trees "hold" the whole composition. Everything else serves only as a background, a kind of frame for giant trees.
Oak trunks are drawn with amazing accuracy and thoroughness. Here you can easily see the smallest roughness of the bark and bends of branches. The trees look so real that the hand reaches out to touch them. I want my skin to feel the heat coming from these centuries-old oaks.
Yes, three trees occupy the central part of the composition, but despite this, the picture does not make the impression of something massive and overloaded. Through the trunks of oaks you can see the edge where trees also grow. The light is also added to the canvas by the image of a transparent blue, almost white sky without a single cloud.
The horizon line runs diagonally from top to bottom, giving the impression of life and dynamics. The same movement is repeated in the image of the path in the lower right corner of the canvas. The branches of the central oaks are directed to one side, to the right. With this technique, Shishkin balanced the forest in the background on the left.
There is no image of the sun in the picture, but the canvas is literally permeated with sunlight. This feeling is achieved by the play of light and shadow, the subtlest color transitions. Many researchers note that “Oaks” is a new stage in Shishkin’s work, the next peak of his skill. Here he, without losing the talent of a draftsman who is attentive to details, learned to convey in a special way the atmosphere of wildlife.
Adoration of the Magi Botticelli