Reproduction of “The rooks have come back” by Savrasov

posted in: My own projects | 1

24*30 oil on stretched canvas September 2015

Only God creates. The rest of us just copy. (Michelangelo)

The virtual musem and the wikipedia names Savrasov as” one of the most important of all the 19th century Russian landscape painters”. He is considered to be the creator of the “lyrical landscape style”. Everyone who grew up  in Russia is familiar with the painting “The rooks have come back”.

A dear friend and relative of mine asked to recreate the painting for her because it brings up memories of her childhood as the painting’s reproduction was at her beloved grandmother’s house.

To me I never truly understood the power of the painting as I thought of it as of a “modest” painting reflecting a dull spring day in a small russian village with its darker color scheme. While trying to recreate the painting I felt the harmony of nature and the painter’s mood Savrasov was trying to show. I agree with Brad Bird who once noticed that “…if there are similarities, it’s simply because the same thoughts that occurred to other people also occurred to me”. This painting is truly convincing and full of atmosphere.

I must admit creating the copy was MUCH harder than it had seemed before i started. The painting’s palette is pretty complicated varying from dark almost completely black to all shades of brown, grey, blue, purple, etc.

Please have a look at the progress pictures:







I so enjoyed creating the sky using only palette knife with lots of different blues, purples, white, burnt sienna, black. Palette knife is perfect at bringing direction to the sky.
















After I was done with the sky I developed a quick sketch of the buildings, trees, pond. Again, I am not a geometrical genius so it took me some extra time to measure things out. I tried to be pretty accurate but allowed myself some variations at the same time.







And the finished painting:


This work has proved that no matter how much you try to recreate the work of others, what you produce is going to be uniquely yours. I am grateful to my relative for this wonderful opportunity to try to copy the well-known painting and to rethink  my perception of the painting.


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