Moscow, Samotyoka. 1910–1915
Tempera on cardboard
Leonard Turzhansky received his artistic education in St. Petersburg and later in Moscow, where he studied under Valentin Serov and Konstantin Korovin at that city’s famous School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture. Upon graduating, Turzhansky returned to his home region, bought a small house in the village of Maly Istok near Yekaterinburg, and lived there for the greater part of the year, from early spring to late autumn, returning to the artistic bustle of Moscow only in winter. This winter landscape was created during one of those visits there in the early 1910s. “Moscow, Samotyoka” is for Turzhansky a rare city view, yet even here we can see the master’s characteristic image of a horse in the foreground. In spirit this painting is akin to the famous stories by Vladimir Gilyarovsky. Bozhedomka with its rows of barracks, was a street that had a very poor reputation. Sukharevskaya square was nearby, a certain sense of mystery and danger coming from the glow of its street lamps, the shadows in the snow and the stars in the sky – a portrait of the ‘enchanting’ old Moscow at the beginning of the turbulent 20th century. It seems likely that the exact location in Moscow seen in this work has been discovered - it is number 23 on Delegatskaya street. Today the old Moscow architecture is barely recognizable in a building that has twice been extended, having acquired a third story during the Soviet period and then a fourth one in modern times.