This cityscape of Riga depicts the view from the Bastjkalna Park over the Pilsētas Kanāls toward the National Opera. In the light of an early autumn evening the shades of green and violet increases the intensity of the yellow and orange spots of the illuminated windows of the Opera building and the reflexions of the streetlights on the water.
At the time of the technological inspection and the research of Nina Lapidus the painting was inscribed with ‘Serge Vinogradoff’ on the lower left. Vinogradov and Bogdanov-Belsky were friends and Vinogradov taught in the atelier of Bogdanov-Belsky. However, according to Nina Lapidus this painting has nothing in common with the painterly conception of Vinogradov but accords to Bogdanov-Belsky. A painting with the same theme but bigger and more detailed was exhibited by Bogdanov-Belsky in 1936 in Riga and is recorded in the catalog of this exhibition with the catalog number 30. To repeat themes in several paintings was a usual method of Bogdanov-Belsky to transform a ‘plein-air’ motif into a composed painting.
cf. exhibition catalog: Professora N. Bogdanova-Belska, V. Gleznu Iztades Katalogs, Riga, March 1 - 29, 1936, no. 30 (the larger painting)
The painting is in good condition, consistent with age. The former inscription ‘Serge Vinogradoff’ on the lower left was deleted. In the sky there is a short, faintly visible scratch with minor loss of paint. The canvas shows slight pressure marks along the underlying stretcher bars. Inspection under UV light reveals no retouching except punctual retouching at the deleted inscription. The frame shows usual signs of age and wear.
Nikolaj Petrovich Bogdanov-Belsky (1868-1945)
Nikolaj Petrovich Bogdanov-Belsky studied modern painting at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture from 1884 to 1889, and later at the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg with Ilja Yefimovich Repin. In the late 1890s, he worked and studied in Paris. From the beginning of the 20th century, the artist participated in various exhibitions in Russia. Later his works were shown in New York, Berlin, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Paris. Bogdanov-Belsky worked in St. Petersburg for many years before settling in Riga. He became a member of several prominent artists groups, including the ‘Peredvizhniki’ (The Wanderers). Moreover, he was an active member of the Academy of Arts. The painter is known mostly for his genre paintings, especially of peasant children, portraits and impressionist landscape studies. (rac)