Chumatsky Highway in Mariupol - Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi. 106x213 cm
Arkhip Kuindzhi specially painted the painting “The Chumatsky Highway in Mariupol” for the IV exhibition of the Wanderers. The novice painter tried to emphasize precisely on the realism of the plot, and he completely succeeded.
The plot was familiar to the artist - Kuindzhi portrayed his native land. Mariupol was a master city for the master, a city of childhood, and he went to Feodosia along the Chumatsky highway, which runs in the southern steppes. The name of the road was given by merchants, that is, Chumaks - their wagons scurried between Mariupol and the coastal Theodosia, transporting various goods for fairs, especially fish and salt.
The picture shows a busy road along which carts drawn by oxen move. The first word that comes to mind when contemplating work is dampness. A wet road turned into mud, carts and animals shining from rainwater, a gloomy heavy sky. Seen involuntarily provokes sympathy and internal protest: only the need to feed their families drives the Chumaks to a wet path.
Despite the apparent monotony of the plot, an attentive look will surely grab the color fullness of the work. Especially if you compare the picture with the previous paintings of Kuindzhi. There are complex color solutions here, namely, transitions from cold to warm shades. Brown, green, white, yellow and blue tones have found application in the picture.
As usual with Kuindzhi, the sky stands as a separate hero in the picture. Heavy low clouds with a noticeable enlightenment in the middle seem to “put pressure” on the plot participants, create a sense of doom and hopelessness.
This work significantly brought its author closer to the Wanderer Partnership, for which such a social note was very pretty. Kuindzhi, who had been looking for support for a long time, was glad for such a rapprochement. However, all his subsequent work will show that with the accusatory art of the Wanderers, raising acute social issues, the master was out of the way. He wanted to look for the beautiful in the banal, the inspiring in the ordinary, and completely switched to a narrative poetic landscape.
In fairness, I want to note that the “Chumatsky Tract” was not only a landmark work of Kuindzhi - collecting positive feedback, the picture gave confidence to the master, a native of a simple family. Very soon, he will get stronger in spirit, believe in himself as a specialist, and leave the Academy of Arts courses to set off for free swimming.