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Threshing Floor

Russian Museum, St Petersburg


Rosalind Polly Gray explains how Venetsianov made a conscious choice to abandon past artistic models and follow only nature:

“Here, his source of inspiration was François-Maurius Granet (1775-1849), the French artist who specialized in church interiors in the manner of the Dutch seventeenth-century masters Sanraedam and de Witte. … Venetsianov was not inspired by Granet’s choice of subject…Rather, the Russian admired the new treatment of space and the naturalism of the objects and figures…in a letter to a Petersburg publisher he explained how he went about it:

  To succeed, I had to renounce completely all the rules and techniques which I had
  acquired through twelve years of copying in the Hermitage, and instead adopt the
  methods used by Granet…[I had] to depict nothing in any way different from how it
  appears in nature, and to obey nature alone, without a hint of the style of another
  artist: that is, not to paint a picture à la Rembrandt, à la Rubens, and so on, but
  simply, so to speak, à la nature. Having taken such a road, I began to paint The
  Threshing Floor, and I have to admit that twelve years of following other styles
  hindered me enormously in my undertaking.”

Rosalind Polly Gray, “The Real and the Ideal in the Work of Aleksei Venetsianov,” Russian Review, vol. 58, no. 4 (October 1999): 663-5.

About the Artist

Born: Moscow, 18 February 1780
Died: , 4 January 1847
Nationality: Greek-Russian