Description: signed in Latin l.r.; signed in Latin and numbered N6/26 on the reverse oil on canvas
Dimensions: 73 by 50cm., 28¾ by 19¾in
Notes: Baranov-Rossiné's The Church is most likely one of his early works, produced between 1909 and 1914. During these years many of the artist's paintings were influenced by Paul Cézanne's late canvases. There are a number of works by Cézanne and by his followers that employ a similar composition, where the trees frame the view of a church, a mansion, an alley or a lake. Traditionally artists have used trees as a device to separate different planes, to reinforce perspective and to create a sense of depth. Post-impressionists, aiming to create symbolic, meaningful art, also made use of such compositions. However, in many of their works the trees nearly completely obscure the view of the main object of the painting. This creates a tension, heightening the interest in the discovery one made, stepping out from these woods. In the present work the trees reveal a medieval church, imbuing it with a special significance. Here, true to post-impressionist ideals, the artist is not attempting to reproduce natural lighting or to capture a moment, but constructs his painting intellectually, according to his memories. Although Baranov-Rossiné's treatment of the trees with a certain watercolour translucency resembles Cézanne's style, there are distinct round shapes in the sky that became even more prominent in the artist's later works. The alternating splotches of blue, grey and dark green colour are perhaps early forerunners of what later materialised as one of Baranov-Rossiné's famous inventions: "dynamic" military camouflage.
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