Having received both the Repin’s gold medal at the Academy of Arts, the teacher of Levitan and Ostroukhov and who lived to be recognized as “People’s Artist of the RSFSR,” Vasily Dmitrievich Polenov, among a number of works that brought him worldwide fame (for the painting “The Countess d'Estremont’s Arrest”, he was made a member and French Academy) and wrote a relatively little-known landscape of "Golden Autumn".
A picture painted not far from Polenov’s own estate on the Oka River shows where later came the “joy of golden autumn” among his students, Ostroukhov and Levitan. On a clear sunny day, the monastery on the hillside at the bend of the river shines in the sunlight like a glacier on the Alps (Polenov had only recently returned to his homeland, before crossing the same Alps several times a year - from Italy - to France via Switzerland) but it doesn’t get our attention right away. But when you notice it - you can’t take your eyes off. At first, the magnificent bend of the river, a lively blue ribbon on the golden field of autumn, foggy, bluish haze of hills, between which the river disappears, attracts attention.
Then only, having carefully examined the foreground of the landscape, you notice that autumn somehow barely managed to run into this corner: she painted the trees with too much yellowness interspersed with red. And the green giant before my eyes is a reminder of the summer. But in this picture, it is not even the bright yellow color of the trees that amazes, not the neat path over the spring, but the river itself. Look how clean it is, how, reflecting the rays of the sun, it reflects the sun and sky, how the greasy leaves gather on bluish shoals, and how the trees from the “forest” shore are clearly visible on the dark blue coastal whirlpools.
Polenov traveled all over Europe, was in Egypt and Asia .. but was not in the United States, where the expression "Indian summer" came from. Otherwise, the picture could be called so. Or "Indian summer." Because, although the picture is autumn, but it is still permeated with summer warmth and light. But, most likely - in the case of Polenov, it would be so pathetic, even if not with the brightest colors that showed the beauty of Russian nature, to name the picture "Homeland" ..
White on White