10 most famous paintings by Shishkin

Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective, does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

Ivan Ivanovich Shishkin is one of the most famous Russian landscape painters. His work largely determined the national culture, and a number of canvases (especially 'Morning in a Pine Forest') became truly symbolic for national art.

The subtle ability to embody pictures of nature was discovered by Ivan Shishkin in his youth. While his comrades worked within the walls of the Imperial Academy of Arts, located in St. Petersburg, the painter constantly went outside the city, where he painted sketches from nature. So, for example, one of his most famous paintings – 'Pine on Valaam' – was created during his studies.

Today Shishkin is known to almost every resident of the post-Soviet space. Of course, in many ways, his work fit into the 'cultural code' due to the mass character. The painting 'Morning in a Pine Forest', for example, decorates a box of 'Bears in the Forest' sweets. But the artist is famous not only for this work. For those who want to subtly feel the beauty of their native nature, we have compiled a rating of the 10 most famous paintings by Shishkin.

To compile the rating, data from search engines were used. The more often a picture is mentioned on the Internet, the higher its position in the top.

Review of the most famous paintings by Shishkin

Nomination a place Composition rating
Review of the most famous paintings by Shishkin 10 'Logging' 4.1
9 'Pines illuminated by the sun' 4.2
8 'Forest gave' 4.3
7 'Among the plain valley' 4.4
6 'Oak Grove' 4.5
5 'Ship Grove' 4.6
4 'In the wild north' 4.7
3 'Pinery' 4.8
2 'Rye' 4.9
1 'Morning in a pine forest' 5.0


Rating: 4.1

Forest felling

'Logging' is one of the first paintings by the Russian painter. Ivan Ivanovich Shishkin created it back in 1867, shortly after completing his studies at the Dusseldorf art school. And it is from this work that Shishkin's path as a painter begins, in whose canvases paintings of the Russian forest prevail.

Elements of the Düsseldorf art school are vividly manifested in 'Logging'. The painter is still demonstrating the acquired skills, and his own talents are in their infancy. The canvas, despite the lack of action, is characterized by epicity – this is evidenced by work with color and space, as well as composition. In the central plan is a fallen pine tree. The tree was quite young, and the tree stump is still oozing resin like blood.

In the future, the composition is revealed. Behind the stream you can see peasants who are engaged in felling the forest. One of them is preparing for a halt or a shelter – the background of the composition with its slightly darkening sky and trees covered with a slight haze hints that the time is already late.

Like other works by Shishkin, 'Logging' is replete with small details reflecting Russian nature. The forest, mostly coniferous, is interspersed with rare deciduous trees, which clearly lack light and nutrients – there, one of the birches in the foreground has fallen, rotting. It can be seen how in the spring the stream, overflowing, undermines the roots – some of them are already exposed and have become a habitat for mushrooms. In the foreground, you can also see a curious animal that is interested in the collapsed tree.

Interestingly, during one of the expositions, “Logging” was exhibited directly opposite Vereshchagin's “Apotheosis of War”. And critics noted the similarity of the paintings. Despite the fact that there is no direct demonstration of violence in Shishkin's picture, the motive of both works is similar – devastation. In the 'felling', the composition is broken by the oval of a freshly sawn pine, and it is he who is in the center. The same as the mountain of skulls in 'The Apotheosis of War'.

'Pines illuminated by the sun'

Rating: 4.2

Pines lit by the sun

Painted in 1886, the painting 'Pines illuminated by the sun' demonstrates the full consistency of Shishkin's creative style and genre. Here he no longer imitates the great teachers, but manifests his own image. You can see how beautifully the artist works with light – and it is the sun that is the main character of the canvas.

Dark pines could become the main characters – with all their natural grandeur, some gloom and incomprehensible wisdom – but they seem to be swept away by the sunlight. Everything is flooded with amber-yellow hues – from withered grass to evergreen crowns. And only gloomy shadows somewhere in the depths of the canvas create a sense of space and show that even on bright summer days the sun cannot completely capture the scene.

It's amazing how the composition of the picture unfolds when viewed. In the foreground is just a forest edge. But then the play of shades takes the gaze deeper into the depicted pine forest – and the picture seems to unfold, revealing more details. The forest appears open and devoid of mystery, simple and cognizable.

'Forest gave'

Rating: 4.3

Forest gave '

In contrast to the previous picture in the rating, 'Forest Distances' show the power, depth and mystery of Russian nature. This is largely due to the emotional depression of the artist himself, as a result of which his works of the early 1880s are characterized by a certain gloom. Even though the painter, who was in love with Russian nature, could not show it cold and unfriendly, in the paintings, which at first glance are quite light and simple, moments of sadness appear.

The artist, despite his relatively short life, turned out to be a widower twice. In 1874, after 6 years of marriage, his first wife died. In this marriage, he became a father three times, but two children died in infancy. Overcoming adversity, in 1880 Ivan Shishkin married again, to his student Olga Lagoda. Less than a year later, she died of an illness, leaving behind a young daughter.

Having survived so many deaths, Ivan Ivanovich simply could not create as before. His paintings of this period are characterized by gloom, and through the majestic beauty of Russian nature the artist conveys his feelings. “Forest Distances”, published in 1884, demonstrate the Ural horizons – and the gloomy coniferous forest contrasts sharply with the airy, light, almost cloudless sky. In this picture, he appears especially lifeless and empty. It seems that there is not a single soul here, only endless ate to the very horizon. The lifelessness of the forest is emphasized by one important detail – the loneliness of a bird soaring in the sky.

'Among the plain valley'

Rating: 4.4

Among the plain valley

The mood of 'In the middle of the valley' may seem similar to the mood of the previous picture in the rating. And this is not surprising. 'Among the flat valley' was also painted during a dark period in the life of the great artist – the canvas was published in 1883.

The central theme of the canvas is loneliness. A stately oak tree stands in the middle of the field, with only a small country road leading past it. The tree is lonely, there is nothing in the picture that could even remotely rhyme with it. With a dense, spreading crown, the oak looks especially gloomy, standing out sharply from the rest of the composition, written in warmer and lighter colors.

It is interesting that the source of inspiration for the picture was the poem of the same name by Alexei Merzlyakov. True, it was light and lyrical, since the poet wrote it during the period of falling in love. Later, on the basis of this poem, Mikhail Glinka created a song that later became practically popular in the mass consciousness.

Like other pictures of Shishkin, 'Among the flat valley' is characterized by high detail. In the foreground, you can see a huge number of meadow plants. But even in them the artist's emotional heaviness is manifested – the ears are bent over, the stems are broken. The oak itself, which is at first glance in the background, dramatically pulls the composition towards itself and becomes the central image of the work.

'Oak Grove'

Rating: 4.5

Oak Grove

The mood of the painting 'Oak Grove' rhymes with the mood of the canvas 'Pines, illuminated by the sun'. Both works are dominated by light, warm shades. And the sun itself plays a crucial role in the composition, pushing aside other elements, and only in the depths shadows appear that do not look gloomy.

And such a rhyme of moods is not surprising. Both works belong to the pen of the 'late Shishkin' and were written in 1887, when the artist came out of a depressed, depressive state. Therefore, the paintings triumph over the Russian nature, presenting it as friendly and open.

However, the predominant shade in the painting 'Oak Grove' is grassy green. The work depicts the edge of a deciduous forest on a bright day, somewhere in the beginning of summer. That is why the crowns of the trees are bright emerald, and the grass under them is painted in warmer green hues. The picture is full of details, which is characteristic of Shishkin – here and the cracked bark of oaks, and small meadow flowers, and even a tiny reservoir – everything is included in the overall composition, conveying the forest in its untouched, pristine beauty.

'Ship Grove'

Rating: 4.6

Ship grove

'Ship Grove' is one of the last works of Ivan Shishkin. It was painted in 1898, shortly before the death of the artist himself. By the way, Shishkin left our world, sitting at an easel. And many art critics believe that it is the 'Ship Grove' (and the whole work is called 'Afanasovskaya Ship Grove near Yelabuga') is the crown and quintessence of the author's work.

'Ship Grove' is distinguished by an amazing stage setting. These are no longer sketches from the life of Russian nature. This is a monumental canvas with clear plans and strict balance. The grove itself, consisting of huge conifers with thick trunks, does not draw attention to itself and does not seem gloomy and cold.

This effect is largely due to the fact that in the foreground there is a small pond, a backwater. A bridge has been thrown across it, showing that this place is inhabited, that people live here, even if they are not in the picture itself. In addition, the composition is bathed in warm, summer sun – and therefore painted in soft golden-yellow hues.

Some art critics say that 'Ship Grove' became the artist's farewell song. In this work, he finally depersonalized, showing nature as it is, but at the same time put in several additional meanings. He understood that he would soon be gone – but Russian art would not die, new artists would come to replace him, and therefore the pines were surrounded by young growth.

'In the wild north'

Rating: 4.7

In the wild north

'In the Wild North' is one of the few commissioned works by Shishkin. Of course, at the time it was written (1891), the artist was already extremely popular. Each new work of his was bought out almost instantly in order to immediately decorate the living room of some rich landowner.

'Wild in the North', in turn, was deliberately ordered from the artist by the Petersburg publisher P. P. Konchalovsky. This picture was supposed to decorate the cover of M. Yu. Lermontov's collection of works. And it is even named after the first line of the poem of the same name by the famous Russian poet.

'Wild in the North', although it belongs to Shishkin's later work, is characterized by a rather gloomy mood. The central theme of the canvas is loneliness. A lone pine tree, occupying the entire foreground, stands on an impregnable gorge, surrounded by snow and darkness. In many ways, the composition is directly inspired by the mood of Lermontov's poem, but the artist made it darker and heavier.


Rating: 4.8


The painting 'Pine Forest', painted in 1895, characterizes Shishkin as a professional, experienced artist with his own style. And this is most clearly manifested in the composition of the work.

'Pine Forest' is characterized by an amazing balance. Even objects on it are arranged according to the principle of the 'golden ratio'. The center of the composition is two large, perennial pines, separated by a country road and therefore somewhat spaced on the sides of the vertical axis. Additional trees in the background are also arranged symmetrically (along the plant to the left of the left and right of the right pines), which improves the balance of the composition. The dark stripe of the pine god is bordered by a deep blue sky and a light green-yellow border.

Also in this work are other elements characteristic of Shishkin's later work. The light in the picture is volumetric, penetrating through the thickness of the trees. The mood is peaceful. Nature is not represented by itself, it is rather a part of human life – which is manifested in the knurled rut of a country road that crosses the stream.


Rating: 4.9


One of the artist's most striking and recognizable works, the painting 'Rye' triumphs over the beauty of Russian nature. But she gained fame primarily due to the author's highest skill as a colorist.

The main shades of the picture are gold and blue. These are the classic colors for Russian fine art, which were used even in the days of icon painting. The golden rye contrasts with the dark green hues of the surrounding plants (trees that give the painting depth of space, and the grass in the foreground), but at the same time it does not outweigh the tonal balance.

The composition of the picture is based on the principle of the golden section. The main element – a field of golden ears of rye – is in the lower third of the picture. The upper part is represented by deep blue skies with many shades of blue. Trees do not draw attention, but serve to create volume – the picture appears to be spatial, describing an endless field.

At the same time, the painting contains a detail that reflects the artist's personal experiences. A small dead pine tree in the background looks like a dissonance, in sharp contrast to the rest of the elements of the composition, which triumph over life. Not long before the painting was presented to the public in 1878, the artist experienced many personal tragedies, and they were reflected in the emotional background of the canvas.

'Morning in a pine forest'

Rating: 5.0

Morning in a pine forest

'Morning in a pine forest', painted in 1889, is the most famous painting by Ivan Ivanovich Shishkin. However, popularity was brought to her not only by the composition, which depicts Russian nature in its most vital state, but also by its further use. Now “Morning in a pine forest” can be seen on packages of chocolates, on various souvenirs and household items. She has become a real symbol of contemporary Russian culture, and is reflected in modern times.

The most important feature of the painting is its dynamic composition. If in previous works the artist captured the tranquil beauty of Russian nature in a static state – forests, edges, streams, fields and lonely trees – here the focus is on frolicking bears.

In addition, work with light is of interest. Unlike other canvases, the sun is literally in the background here. It complements nature, rather than dominates it. The central part of the composition is dark, contrasting in comparison with the background, but not gloomy. And let the cubs play on a felled pine tree – this is not a weight from the death of a tree, this is a chanting of a new circle of life.

It is interesting that this painting belongs not only to Shishkin's brush. Ivan Ivanovich himself was not an animal painter. He did not know how to draw animals – and the bear cubs on the canvas look like living ones. The fact is that they belong to the brush of another famous Russian artist – K. A. Savitsky. But his name has been erased from time due to the actions of the collector P.M. Tretyakov.

When 'Morning in a pine forest' fell into the hands of P.M. Tretyakov, the collector erased the signature of the second artist. As a result, for a long time it was believed that I.I.Shishkin was the only author of the canvas. In fact, he only painted the forest. But the cubs are the fruit of Savitsky's labors.

Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

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