Created in 1870. Materials – oil on canvas, size – 46.8 by 80.5 cm. Located in the Serpukhov Historical and Art Museum, Serpukhov, Russia.
In this work, once again, Alexei Kondratievich’s unlimited love for Russian nature showed itself beautifully. Now his attention was not paid to the most popular topic in painting – the swamp, especially at night. Obviously, in vain, the viewer understands, looking at the wonderful canvas.
The artist’s brush shows a vast, fluttering and breathing space, stretching away into total darkness. However, part of the panorama illuminates the irregular moonlight penetrating through the night cloudy sky. In its silvery-yellowish radiance, there is a stretch of standing water, full of reflections and framed with strokes of reeds, and a solid rocky shore, covered in several places by grass and small shrubs. To the right, closer to the center, smoke spreads – it could be a fire, but what sensible person would be to breed it there? Unless he wants to go unnoticed… Or is it a sign of a beginning fire on the moors.
At first glance, restrained color gamut is reminiscent of grisaille, when in art only one color gradient is used to depict all objects. But upon further consideration, not only black and transparent-ocher tones become visible, but also blue, greenish and blue. Softly written shadows and bright specks of glare on the plants give the work volume and amazing reliability. It is likely that the master made sketches from nature or walked through the depicted terrain when it gets dark.
The general mood of the work involuntarily pushes to thoughts not only about the calm and the great, but also about ghosts wandering in bolts or Baskerville dogs, although by that time this story was not written by Conan Doyle.