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Cappuccini near Sorrento, S. F. Schedrin, 1827

Description of the picture:

Cappuccini near Sorrento, Sylvester Feodosievich Shchedrin, 1827. Oil on canvas. 47,5×60
   Sylvester Shchedrin was born in St. Petersburg in an art family. His father is a famous sculptor, rector of the Academy of Fine Arts, his uncle is a landscape painter, who headed the landscape painting class for almost thirty years. Sylvester Shchedrin graduated from the Academy of Arts and was sent as a pensioner to Italy, where he won widespread fame with his work. Russian and foreign amateurs argued over the right to acquire his landscapes. The artist failed to return to Russia: he died in Italy, having lived there a little more than ten years.

   Shchedrin painted numerous views of Naples and its environs. Especially loved the artist Sorrento, where he was attracted by a quiet harbor, picturesque steep banks, rocky grottoes by the sea, shady terraces overgrown with greenery. In Sorrento, the artist’s short life ended, and now you can see his grave.

   The painting “Terrace by the Sea” for a long time did not have a specific definition of the terrain depicted. The find among the drawings мейд by some unknown artist in the 1840s helped to find her. Among the sketches of species in the vicinity of Sorrento were sketches of the same terrace with a mark indicating its location – Cappuccini market.

   The terrace is located high above the sea. Immersed in a deep shadow or illuminated by the bright sun, it is full of a bizarre play of light. Under the tall trees, the monks took refuge from the brown in robes encircled with ropes, a thick pater, a ragged man leaning against the wall and pulling his cap over his eyes, a mule driver and other passers-by.

   The picture is permeated with light and saturated with air, the linear perspective is preserved only for the foreground, the distant is transmitted exclusively by pictorial means. There seems to be no transition from the dark figure of the priest, leaning on the parapet, to the blue distances on the horizon; however, the depth of the distance separating them is perfectly felt by the viewer, and a huge space opens up in the lumen of the foliage. With a few quick strokes, pink roofs and white walls of Meta were barely visible in the distance.

   Nature in Shchedrin’s paintings is always sunny, clear and calm. In contrast to many writers and artists of the Romantic era, Shchedrin did not seek to sing the storms and the struggle of the elements. He preferred nature serene and classically clear. At the same time, nature in his paintings is always animated and warmed by the presence of man. The people of Shchedrin’s landscapes are not an elegant crowd of gentlemen, but Italian commoners in their picturesque rags – the natural inhabitants of all Shchedrin terraces, harbors and embankments.

   Shchedrin was an innovator in art. While his predecessors, masters of the classic landscape, limited themselves to full-scale sketches with a pencil and based on them in the workshop they painted, Shchedrin painted his sketches with paints directly from nature. One of the types of artist repeated eight times, changing the air and tone of the picture. Shchedrin is rightly considered the closest predecessor of the masters of plein air painting of the second half of the 19th century."

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