The theme of the fading sun in the works of the Russian and Ukrainian artist Arkhip Kuinji is realized through a series of canvases, including “Red Sunset”, “Sunset with trees”, “Sunset over the pine forest”, “Sunset in the steppe on the seashore” and others. All of them were written mainly in the period from 1898 to 1908.
Currently, these works are stored in many museums around the world. A feature of sunset scenery Kuindzhi is their melancholic, minor key. The extraordinary realism of the image is achieved through the use of natural natural colors – orange and light yellow, which are set off by saturated purple. Works like a drenched light of the sun, blazing glow of the sunset, the breath of the living nature. In some of the pictures you can see the metaphor: gradually and steadily dying out the sun as the personification of the life cycle, having its beginning and end. The minor sensation in Kuindzhi’s paintings is created with the help of half tones, from the soft flow of colors one into another.
The emotional component of the work is based on the artist’s personal experiences and reflects his elegiac attitude, which merges with a sense of frustration, aimlessness and the inevitable finiteness of human life. In some sunset landscapes Kuindzhi interpreted the theme of the road as a favorite and often found in Russian painting and literature.
In the work “Red Sunset”, which is the main one in the artist’s so-called “solar cycle,” the celestial fire flares up with particular force, illuminating the world with the intense light of a melting sun, ready to give up the rights of the approaching night. Kuinji’s creativity often combines the opposite elements: passion and serenity, weakness and strength, day and night, the sun and the moon. The sun in pagan ideas personifies life, and these ancient folklore motifs can be traced in the master’s sunset landscapes.