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 Isaac Levitan

Born:   August 30, 1860
Deceased:   August 4 [O.S. July 22]1900

Artist, landscape painter


Isaac Ilyich Levitan was born on August, 18th, 1860 in Kibarty Village of Kovensky Province, into a well-educated family. His father was a teacher and knew several languages. In the 1870s Levitan with his family moved to Moscow. From early childhood Isaac was so much fond of drawing that became a student of the School of painting, sculpture and architecture in Moscow in 1873, at the age of 13. After the death of his parents Isaac Levitan faced poverty, hunger and lots of hardships. Seeing his artistic gift, the school authorities allowed him to continue studies for free and even helped him financially.

After an exhibition of his works during his studies Levitan won a silver medal. The artist graduated in 1885. In the mid 1880s his financial situation improved. Levitan exhibited his works together with Peredvizhniki, the Association of traveling art exhibitions.

However, starvation in childhood, hard life and intense work had affected his health his heart disease aggravated. The artist traveled around France and Italy where he decided to learn more about modern painting. From 1898 he taught in his alma mater.

The creative career of Isaac Levitan lasted for about twenty years only, but within this short time he created more than all other Russian landscape painters. Levitans most famous paintings include Over Eternal Rest, Evening on Volga, Birchwood, Twilight. Stacks, Spring High Water, and many other works.

The last figure of the Golden Age of Russian culture, Levitan died of a heart disease in 1900. He was buried on July, 25th 1900 at an old Jewish cemetery, in the vicinity of the Dorogomilovsky Cemetery. In 1941 the ashes of Isaac Levitan were transferred to the Novodevichy Cemetery.

A street in Tel Aviv was named after Isaac Levitan. Lots of Levitans works, the existence of which remained unknown for a long time in the USSR and then in Russia, are kept in Israel.

Tags: Isaac Levitan Russian painters    

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