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One of the favorite areas of Ostroukhov’s painting has always been the transitional states of nature. He sought to capture and convey through paints and paper the very, almost imperceptible, changes in nature that transform the world around. One of these canvases is “Early Spring”. The painting was painted at the end of the nineteenth century.
The landscape seems to be filled with a fresh spring smell, it seems incredibly clean and airy. And the color scheme is built on contrast. After all, spring is a cross between snow-white snowdrifts and lush green grass. Already in the foreground we can see how the still pure white snow contrasts with the last year's dry grass that appeared. Fresh young greens also make their way. It is no accident that graceful birches appeared in the foreground. Their crown is also written in contrast: white and withered green. One of them shows a branch with young leaves.
The snow on the shore seems completely untouched, but a clear boundary is visible between it and the river itself. Despite the small number of shades used, the picture is literally filled with brightness due to the fact that all the colors contrast with each other. The forest in the background is written in strokes in a combination of gray-green and white shades. Only branches of still bare trees foggy merge with a clear blue sky.
Nature in this picture seems to be awakening, throwing off snowdrifts from itself, coming out of hibernation and reviving a new life. And all this sharpness is simultaneously combined with some kind of tenderness and lightness. This is probably what Ostroukhov wanted to convey on his canvas “Early Spring”
Isaac Levitan Golden Autumn