In Crimea. 1912
Oil on canvas mounted on cardboard
“…the bathing is superb, the sea is calm, clear and so gentle that I don’t feel like getting out,” Vasily Polenov wrote to Moscow from Yalta. He went there first in 1887 to treat his headaches, and the result was significant. Polenov took his time to wander around the town and made some purchases in a small Tatar copperware shop he discovered in the marketplace. A year before Polenov, his student, Isaak Levitan, had been to Crimea and brought back numerous sketches from there. Now Polenov had the chance to see the maritime nature, and compare the works of Levitan to those of the famous marine painter Ivan Aivazovsky. The conclusion he made was that the paintings of Levitan were a far better interpretation of what Crimea really was. In one of his letters home Polenov wrote: “Today was the only time that there were clouds like we see in Aivazovsky, so plump, greyish and intensely shaded like no one else can do - only he takes it further, to an even greater sweetness. Levitan is really good.” The artist returned to Moscow in a state of perfect health. Later he visited Crimea again on many occasions and created a number of landscape scenes there.