Sunrise over the Oka river
Sunrise over the Oka river

Ivanov, Victor Ivanovich

1924 -

Sunrise over the Oka river

OIl on panel

80 x 110cm



Collection of the artist's family


Victor Ivanov Museum at Ryazan State Museum

Victor Ivanov painting 1

Victor Ivanov with students c 1950's

Victor Ivanovich Ivanov was one of the founders of the "severe style” post war movement in Russian painting along with Geli Korzhev. The Ryazan area where his mother was born, and where the Victor Ivanov museum is now to be found attached to the Ryazan State Museum, became the main inspiration of his art and the object of a spiritual attachment. There he sought inspiration, and all of his most powerful images were born there. In the village, all human life was there from the first day till the last.

The artist saw in this place the truest merging between man and nature, redemption of a kind, and the preparation for the peace of eternity. He saw the monumental and yet romantic greatness of country work and life. Simple village objects in Ivanov's pictures become meaningful symbols of rural life, measured and at the same time somehow eternal. All this attains a sense of the highest solemnity and creates an atmosphere of deep significance, an intense emotional envelope. “Our art was magnificent, we created works which it seemed to us, did not distort reality in any way,” - Victor Ivanovich recalls. – “This was the Truth of our time and this Truth has always been most important for my art. I believe in realism. It gives us strength, speaks of beauty both physical and moral. Realism is the highest art; history shows nothing to equal it.”

Sunrise over the Oka river depicts the view from the artist cottage, a view he painted all through his life in different seasons and varying weather.  The sun is just rising over the river junction and the muted dawn colours starting to delineate the banks of the river. Ivanov's paintings have an eternal quality where time is suspended.  The colours are harmonious and his paintings have a still peaceful air to them.  Instantly recognizable as works by Ivanov such paintings are considered works by one of Russia’s greatest post war artists who was given all Russia’s greatest artistic awards such as becoming an Academician in 1988 and a ‘Peoples’ Artist of the USSR in 1976.  Ivanov’s self portrait has been accepted by the Uffizi picture gallery in Florence and hangs in their famous collection of self-portraits on show in the Pitti palace.  Ivanov has had countless exhibitions in Russia, Ukraine and Cuba.   As one of Russia’s leading artists he was allowed to travel outside of the USSR and between 1959 and 1962 he visited Egypt, Syria, Italy, Cuba and Mexico.

Such paintings shows a much loved corner of the countryside near Ryazan drawing on Victor Ivanov's personal view of nature from which the artist at various times of year has painted a whole series of landscapes.  Ivanov has stated: “I agree with the famous claim by Levitan that it is possible to be a true landscape painter only in Russia! Indeed the Russian landscape is spiritual and it conveys what is truly important - ideas and feelings”. This beautiful painting displays all the skill, polish and mood for which the artist has become famous.








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