signed, also further signed, titled in Cyrillic and dated 1972 on the stretcher
Oil on canvas
60.5 х 100.5 cm
Private collection, USA
Price on request
Turn Green is a glorious, vivid landscape painted by Nikolai Timkov, a classic of Soviet Impressionism, depicting the abundance, the wealth of Russian nature in its most flourishing peak. There are hilly plains immersed in an outburst of greens which hide an almost imperceptible human presence in the form of hardly distinguishable village houses in the distance, which are organically, naturally fit into the landscape, and marked only by several brushstrokes. The dark mirror-like surface of the river reflects the forest hanging over it, contrasting with the light, cheerful strip of the sky. Time seems to be frozen in this area - there are no signs of the period, there are no signs of modernity and civilisation, only the all-embracing poetry of the primordial world. Despite the fact that Timkov has developed his talent on the basis of the traditional Russian landscape school of the XIX century, and for a long time was under the influence of outstanding landscape painters of the past, the opportunity for further creative development was presented to him through the use of modern and impressionistic techniques. The sharpness and freshness, as well as rare sense of colour and curious compositional variations, began to be expressed particularly clearly in the artist's work from the mid-1960s. At that time, Timkov started to actively use decorative effect as well as bold brushwork, generalisations of pattern and shape, stylisation of objects and intense, decoratively flat planes of colour.
Being a representation of a true 'Russianness' in painting, as Timkov was inspired by the nature of Central Russia for all of their landscapes, Turn Green shows many stylistic aspects that clearly refer the viewer to the impressionistic techniques. Originating in France in the 1870s, the Impressionist movement praised modernity, optical illusion, the fleeting essence of the moment and was expressed in a deliberately careless, bold manner of painting, new, rich colour combinations, unusual geometric solutions in the compositions. Russian artists who went to study art in France at the end of the XIX century, spread in their homeland these fresh, innovative painting trends, but added to them their own national touch, reinterpreted many aspects, driven by their individual and cultural characteristics. For such Russian artists as I. Levitan, V. Polenov, I. Grabar, who always had the main goal in painting - the exploration of the human condition, French Impressionism did not allow to reach the desired depth because of its ephemeral, atmospheric view of the vanishing moment. Timkov shared the views of these great artists, and, borrowing many stylistic techniques from Impressionism, he enriched his paintings with his own, individual vision and attitude, creating something special and unique in the end. The artist was able to infuse his paintings with his great life experience, wisdom and insight alongside with remarkable naivety, ease and fresh perspective. It is surprising that during the Soviet Russia, when artists were divided into radical, right-wing, party followers and representatives of the official art of the country, social Realism, on the one hand, and the left, the avant-garde, going against the 'official' art movement and banned artists, on the other, Timkov managed to be as though in a special niche, not being a representative of 'official' art or part of the avant-garde art community. Timkov's paintings, Turn Green is no exception, are on a completely different level than all the disputes about how art in Soviet Russia should look like. His paintings remain an honest, sincere expression of the artist's extraordinary vision, and they represent something universal; something that is important to all of us living on this planet.