Painting Moscow courtyard

Moscow courtyard. 1878
Moscow courtyard. 1878

Moscow Courtyard is a famous painting painted by Vasily Dmitrievich Polenov in 1878. The author depicted old Moscow, namely, the intersection of Trubnikovsky and Durnovsky lanes. The viewer has a view of the courtyard from the window of the house, in the wing of which the artist rented an apartment in 1877-1878. Peasant children are depicted in the foreground of the landscape. Chickens and chickens are busily scurrying around the yard, a woman with a bucket is hastily running, and a harnessed horse is pensively waiting for the owner. And all this takes place against the backdrop of buildings – a two-story mansion, an old rickety barn and slender church architecture in the background. The work is literally saturated with peace and blissful mood, which is emphasized by the deep blue of the sky with rare clouds and the rich greenery of trees and shrubs.

Vasily Dmitrievich Polenov is a talented Russian painter who created historical, genre and landscape paintings at the end of the 19th – first quarter of the 20th centuries. “Moscow Courtyard” was painted by the artist specifically for the 6th exhibition of the Itinerants and is presented at its Moscow part. In his work, the master harmoniously combines two directions – the urban landscape and the genre of everyday life, without investing any philosophical concepts in the plot and without putting forward slogans.

The author invites the viewer to stop, look around and enjoy the natural beauty and poetry of the world around him. It was with this that Polenov surprised his colleagues and got out of the general chorus of the Wanderers, who constantly urged the viewer to some kind of action and emotion. Vasily Polenov’s debut painting was called “innovative” and almost immediately after the exhibition was bought by the famous Russian philanthropist Pavel Tretyakov.

Church of the Transfiguration of the Savior depicted in the painting
Church of the Transfiguration of the Savior depicted in the painting “Moscow courtyard”

The history of the creation of the “Moscow courtyard” is also interesting.

At first, the master depicted only buildings and trees on canvas, but later, after returning from the Russian-Turkish war, he returned to the work and expanded it. Vasily Polenov shifted the perspective (instead of a vertical format he used a horizontal one), added images of people and animals, filled the picture with radiance, light and peace. In this form, the landscape was presented to the general public and won the tender love of the audience. The painting “Moscow Courtyard” by Vasily Polenov is kept in the Tretyakov Gallery.

It also displays its original version – “Arbat Corner”, which entered the gallery in 1929 from the collection of Ilya Ostroukhov. Later Vasily Polenov made two replicas of the vertical sketch – one for Ivan Turgenev (the work is now on display in the writer’s museum) and the second for Ivan Troyansky, who, shortly before his death, transferred the work to the Russian Museum.