Arkhip Kuindzhi. Night Grazing (Night-watch).
Oil on canvas. 107 x 169.
The State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.
In the painting Night Grazing (1905-1908) the faithful, deeply poetic perception of nature seems to blend with romantic elements resulting in a complex combination of romantic and realist imagery. This farewell work shows Kuindzhi's recollections of childhood and his marked preference for the motif of the sky. The elegiac, lyrical sorrow adds a minor key to the pale colours of the horizon and to the languid light of the smooth river surface. The romantic image found by Kuindzhi is a dreamland where magnificent nature gives pleasure to its beholder. Kuindzhi created an autonomous poetic world, confined within a realm of fanciful beauty and seperated by invisible borders from ordinary life. This tendency was quite typical of Russian art and literature at the beginning of the twentieth century-the creation of an imaginary world full of symbolic undertones, riddles and revelations, the conveying of a sense of starry cosmic space were among the major characteristics of Russian art in that period.
The Eye of Eternity
"Thou shalt have no other gods before me".
Above white earth a single, single
And draws one along a path of ether
To iself - there.
Oh, why is it so? In one steady gaze
All wonders dwell,
The mysterious sea of all life,
And the heavens.
That gaze is so close and so clear -
You, too, will be measureless and sublime -
Master of all.