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Isaak Levitan: Lyrical Landscape Paperback – January 9, 2007
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*This beautifully illustrated book effectively evokes his spirit.*--Northern Echo, June 2004
About the Author
Top customer reviews
After receiving the book I was unpleasantly surprised by how many images are poorly reproduced. I have seen some of the original paintings in European exhibitions and I have enough quality art books to know what good reproduction means.
Several of the pictures in this book are out of focus, and many have colors that tend to be muddy. As a comparison, I have a book from a 1986 exhibition (25 years ago!) that has a far superior reproduction of "The Birch Grove".
The only reason I didn't try to return this book is because it does have a number of Levitan images that I have not found anywhere else. But I'm still not sure it's worth even the reduced price, which is still not cheap.
On the positive side, the text is informative and engaging, without being academic or dry. The artist's productive life is told in chapters organized around time periods, themes or events. The book is about Levitan, the artist, and his work, and there is little about his personal life. We learn only about Levitan's relationships with other artists, his travels, and his exhibition record. Except for his close friendship with Anton Checkov, we learn little about him personally. One annoying feature of the text is that paintings referred to, that are reproduced in the book, are not identified with an illustration number or page number. That means the reader is left thumbing through the pages in search of the image if it is not on the same page.
I discounted other reviews that panned the quality of the book's reproductions, but unfortunately these turned out to be correct. That is a serious flaw in a book about the work of an artist. Since there is little published about this important painter, I purchased it anyway. For the price, it might be a "serviceable record" of Levitan's body of work, and by reading the text I learned a lot about his paintings in the historical context.