Levitan wrote this still life in the summer when he created other small sketches of flowers. Most likely, it was intended as a gift to the lady, as evidenced by the French inscription in the corner of the painting: “Souvenir”. The artist regarded the reproduction of images of flowers as a very useful exercise for masters of the brush and advised his followers to comprehend this type of still life. Although most of Levitan’s paintings of this genre can not be called “dead in kind.”
For the artist, roses are presented as lively, full of juices, illuminated by the sun. In the picture one feels the nobility of artlessness and grace of flowers, the picturesqueness of their elegance and spirituality. These qualities still life “Roses” and other flowers Levitan can not be compared with any other works in Russian art of the time, they are comparable only with the late canvases by E. Manet in European painting.
A bouquet of roses in a plot and composition occupies a central position on the canvas, it is dependent on recreating space, which is rather a shaded background that favorably emphasizes and draws the color of the bouquet, which consists of one crimson and two yellow roses framed by modest leaves, highlighting the transition of colors to the background. The three-dimensionality of the buds is transmitted through a variety of shades of the few basic colors. Sun glare falling on yellow roses highlights their color on the petals to a completely white tone.
Elementary at first glance, the plot is filled with serious emotional content. The artist was able to express the subtle nuances of experiences. So finely depict the elegance and beauty of form and color managed by the painter, admiring their magnificence and feeling worship before them. Roses allow you to express all the bizarreness of the inner world – restrained romance and deep thought, enlightened sadness and unrestrained delight. Flowers, depicted by the artist, are able to tell about him, about his soul, interaction with life, with people, with himself, about his ability to catch the true content of nature, to notice the charm in a simple one.