View of the Church of St. John the Baptist from Rozhdestvenskaya street in Nizhny Novgorod. 1919
Tempera on cardboard
"I was always fascinated by Old Rus’, its ancient architectural monuments, familiar from my distant childhood. I have often been to the great old Russian cities—Nizhny Novgorod, Kostroma, Yaroslavl, Suzdal, Novgorod the Great, Vladimir—to draw studies which later became material for paintings devoted to this ancient Russia. These are themes I have worked with all my life." So Pyotr Petrovichev described his love for the Russian past, and his works are filled with the poetic beauty of architecture of the era before Peter the Great. The broad brushwork, dense impasto and a few muted, twilight colours - all gives the ancient architectural scene a solemn severity. His technique is distinguished by its special thickness and body and by the density of layers of paint, often applied with a palette knife. The work of ancient Russian painters, brought up on iconography, is optimistic in mood, which can be seen in this work by Petrovichev - it tenderly depicts the old days, revealing a light that seems to shine from within.