Konstantin Gorbatov (1876-1945)
Old Jerusalem

signed with pencil C. Gorbatoff
mixed media
40 x 49.5 cm

Price on request
Old Jerusalem presents an enchanting panorama of the Holy City to the viewer, reflecting an extraordinary local character of Jerusalem and an exceptional, intricate skill of the artist to convey the atmosphere of the place with a delicate, as though hasty touch. Tireless explorer, Konstantin Gorbatov, made his journeys to Palestine during 1934 - 1945, where he created numerous drawings, watercolours, oil paintings, etc. These some kind of picturesque travel memoranda allow us to look at the city and its surroundings through the eyes of the artist. Gorbatov's style primarily developed in the period of his studies at the Academy of Arts, but over the years the post-impressionistic manner has become more articulated in his art. The commitment to plein air borrowed from French artists corresponded to Gorbatov's primary source of inspiration - to draw from real life. Thus, travel has gained particular importance for Gorbatov; they constituted the necessary basis for his work, which he dedicated to the depiction of various landscapes. Old Jerusalem, along with other works of the artist's Palestinian cycle, is strikingly different from his Italian works. All sorts of shades of terracotta and beige, especially gold and sand, with rare, refreshing glimpses of bottle green, are typical not only for this specific work but also for other works by Gorbatov made In Palestine. In his portraits of Jerusalem Gorbatov deftly grasped the subtle feeling, a certain aura, the light that filled the city.

Representations of Jerusalem in Russian art are not extremely rare occasions. Since the XIX century and to this day, the topic has remained highly significant for the creative, enthusiastic, inspired souls. Many prominent and gifted artists, scientists, and writers have long visited Palestine and Jerusalem. Among such 'pilgrims' were writers Vyazemsky, Gogol, Bunin, who have raised the image of the Holy Land to the poetic harmonies and endowed it with universal value. Jerusalem has been one of the favourite themes of artists. In addition to Gorbatov, many Russian painters such as Brullov, Chernetsov brothers, Vorobiev, and especially Vereshagin, Krivchenko, and Polenov, were attracted and fascinated not only by the Christian Holy places of Palestine but its unusual, enigmatic environment. Back in the XV century, as a result of a mass pilgrimage to Jerusalem, European art was replenished with picturesque stories about middle Eastern shrines in the form of drawings, engravings, maps, as well as was borrowing elements of the local landscape for the image of biblical scenes. The Temple, the image of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, was seen as one of the most characteristic symbols of Jerusalem for a long time. Later, the views of the Western Wall and the captivating mosque of Omar that immediately seizes our attention in Old Jerusalem. From the XVI-XVII centuries, The Omar mosque, which was built on the site of the destroyed Temple, has been the favourite emblem of the city for the artists. The skills acquired by Gorbatov while studying at the faculty of architecture were not in vain. With a light hand, the artist draws the outlines of the buildings so that there is no doubt about the authenticity of what he saw. Gorbatov did not often depict people on his canvases, but the idyllic fusion of landscape and man the harmony of the invisible presence of life is still acutely felt in such works as Old Jerusalem.

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