We know artist Ivan Shishkin mainly from his wonderful forest landscapes. While still a student, Ivan diligently wrote sketches from nature on Valaam and in the suburbs of St. Petersburg. The direction of painting chosen in his youth became his calling card for many years. It is considered the most powerful draftsman among Russian landscape painters. Perhaps no one, as carefully as he did, painted individual trees, small bushes, and even grass in his paintings. Thanks to this manner of painting, the accuracy of the image of landscapes in Shishkin’s paintings actually reaches the photographic one.
The picture of the stream in the birch forest depicts a rather rare genre scene for the artist – naturally, again in the scenery of the forest. Two female figures are removed from the viewer along a forest path that runs along a stream covered with green mud. Tall birches stretching straight into the sky silently rise on both sides of the stream, like sentries.
Each tree painted is unique, as always with Shishkin, each has its own unique natural curves. The picture is all saturated with sunlight; penetrating through the branches of trees, it warms and green grass, and trampled road, and travelers. Sun glare on white birch trunks – the lightest spots of the picture; in general, its color is rather dark, which creates a feeling of privacy and security.
A wooden bridge, connecting the two banks, is spread over the stream; greenish water is written out skillfully, and the reflections of trees in it seem real. Far ahead, the trees make way, and the viewer can finally see the sunlit glade. Obviously, this is where girls go; the symbolic path to the light through the shadow is the moving motive of the picture.