- Konstantin Yakovlevich Kryzhitsky
- Woodland Landscape
- signed in Cyrillic and dated 98 l.r.
- oil on canvas
- 90 by 143cm, 35 1/2 by 56 1/4 in.
Acquired by the grandfather of the present owners before the Second World War
The canvas is unlined and is securely attached to what would appear to be the original keyed
wooden stretcher. This is ensuring a stable structural support.
The paint surface has an even varnish layer.
The painting has scattered networks and lines of raised craquelure, most notably within the
sky. These appear stable. There are also slightly raised stretcher bar lines corresponding to
the central vertical stretcher member. These appear stable.
Inspection under ultraviolet light shows scattered retouchings, including:
1) an area of retouchings within the lower centre of the sky and extending through the horizon
which corresponds to the stretcher-bar lines mentioned above,
2) several small retouchings within the blue landscape to the right of this area,
3) a number of retouchings within the sky towards the right edge,
4) small retouchings within the trees in the centre right of the composition and several further
retouchings towards the lower centre of the right edge,
5) a small area of retouching within the blue landscape in the centre left of the composition,
6) small retouchings within the foreground including in the extreme lower right corner and to
the left of the large tree stump.
The painting would therefore appear to be in good and stable condition.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."
Born in Kiev in 1858, Konstantin Kryzhitsky trained at the Academy of Fine Arts in St Petersburg. He attended the studio of Mikhail Klodt, a founding member of the Peredvizhniki, and from 1879 frequently exhibited in St Petersburg and abroad, most notably at the International Exhibition in Munich in 1909 where he was awarded a gold medal for his Frosty Morning.
Kryzhitsky was famed for his monumental landscapes which drew together the varied lands, dramatic skies and expansive vistas of Russia, Scandinavia and the Baltics, and which were acquired by both Alexander III and Pavel Tretyakov.
A restless traveller, Kryzhitsky made lengthy expeditions around northern and central Russia, preferring its forbidding forests to the sun-drenched shores of Crimea. The geographical diversity of his landscapes and their vague titles make it nearly impossible to pinpoint their exact locations. The rolling hills and rich, impenetrable woodland depicted in the present lot are nevertheless reminiscent of the lush environs of Zvenigorod, a fashionable town just outside Moscow. In the late 1880s and 1890s, Kryzhitsky is known to have been a frequent visitor to Count Sheremetev's nearby estate of Vvedenskoe. Situated on the banks of the Moscow river, it boasted an impressive panoramic view of the late-14th century Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery, one of the most important monastery complexes in Russia.
It is worth pointing out the faint outlines of domes and towers dotted along the skyline, pentimenti from an earlier composition underneath which bear a strong resemblance to 19th century views of the Volga town of Yurevets. The tree-stumps which can be seen in the foreground of the composition serve as a reminder of the limited impact of human interference on this magnificently impenetrable and never-ending forest.