Jack Frost the Painter
On a frosty day, when the mercury is down to 20 below, the city seems transformed. Spiky hoarfrost covers the trees and railings. The low-riding sun lends the haze a pinkish glow. The sight is so magnificent that one involuntarily stops short to admire this marvel of nature.
You may see the frost without even having to sally forth from your hotel. Cars drive by leaving curly clouds of mist in their make. When passers-by talk, vapor emerges from their mouths like the balloons in comic strips. Inside the trolleybus you think you are in Neptune’s domain: you feel that you arc moving but cannot sec anything, as Jack Frost has painted the windows over with his nimble fingers.
In winter the day grows dark early. As soon as the lights go on, the streets are transformed into precious gems, scintillating with the most unexpected of colours. The snow reflects the blue, pink and green of neon advertisements, in a fanciful jumble and one may very well forget the cold, admiring the magic play of light.
The pictures that Jack Frost and the sun paint on the endless canvass of nature remind one of the masterpieces of art that man has fashioned. Indeed, winter is a time seemingly specially intended for visits to picture galleries.
The picture galleries in the Russia are always full of people. Whatever the season, there are sure to crowds at the doors to Moscow’s Trctyakov Art Gallery, a famous collection of Russian masters, from icons to modern paintings.
In the roomy halls of the art gallery, you will see guides conducting large groups of people on an excursion, stopping to discuss the more interesting canvases, and you realise that most visitors are no novices. You will also sec a whole school class with their teacher making an early acquaintance from childhood with masterpieces which here and there someone may be copying.
Several hours at the gallery will give you a notion of life in Russia in all its multiplicity. You have everything here: lyrical landscapes, portraits of historical personalities, genre scenes, mirroring the life to different sections of Russian society and pictures of episodes from legends and chronicles. The great masters exhibited include Bryulov, Re-pin, Surikov, Levitan, Vrubel, Nestcrov and Korin. Each of the gallery’s 40,000 paintings has its own history, and each is a slice of real life.
At Russian museums and art galleries you will find the masterpieces of that great 15 century Russian artist Andrei Rublev. For him the icon was merely the form that the time commanded, because his paintings are most realistic and human, bringing through the centuries the emotions and thoughts of his characters. They are no impersonal saints but live people with their own secret suffering and concentration.
Jack Frost the Painter