Monday, January 23, 2012

The Oak by Isaac Levitan

'The Oak' by Isaac Levitan

I often wonder why any artist, would tire of painting trees. They are a dream to paint. The trunk is a solid structure full of interesting compositional elements. The solid form exists in contrast to the clouds of leaves that scatter around the image. Trees are wonderfully aesthetically balanced, even before an artist picks up the brush. 'The Oak' by Isaac Levitan is a beautiful example of the natural beauty of the tree. A realistic image that captures everything we find beautiful. The black shadows on the tree enhance its solid structure, and is in sharp contrast to all the other shadows within the piece. Every other shadow is created through shades of green, not black. This gives the tree trunk, a strong central focus. The composition of the piece is basic, it could be viewed as a disrupted Y shape, because the tree is the key structure of the composition. This is still a complex image and its simplicity becomes lost. The paintings complexity is created through the high levels of detail. The composition does not require further complexity or the piece would lose all balance. It is stunning, filled with a level high contrast between light and shade. It creates the view of a warm summers day, where we could sit beneath the oak tree as time passes by.

Note: Around the web I have found different spellings of this artists name 'Isaac'. I think this is mainly due to translation errors. The original Russian according to Wikipedia is Исаак Ильич Левитан