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Levitan wrote this still life that summer when he created other small sketches depicting flowers. Most likely, it was intended as a gift to a lady, as evidenced by the French inscription in the corner of the picture: “Souvenir”. The artist regarded the reproduction of images of flowers as a very useful exercise for brush masters and advised his followers to comprehend this kind of still life. Although most of Levitan’s paintings of this genre cannot be called “dead nature”.
Roses for the artist appear to be alive, full of juices, illuminated by the sun. The picture feels the nobility of artlessness and grace of flowers, the picturesque nature of their sophistication and spirituality. These qualities still life "Roses" and other Levitan flowers can not be compared with any other works in Russian art of that time, they are comparable only with the late canvases of E. Manet in European painting.
The bouquet of roses is central and compositional in a central position on the canvas, the recreation of space depends on it, rather it is a shaded background that favorably emphasizes and outlines the colors of the bouquet, which consists of one raspberry and two yellow roses, framed by modest leaves, shading the transition of the color of the flowers to the background. The three-dimensionality of the buds is conveyed using a variety of shades of the basic few colors. Sun glare falling on yellow roses lightens 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. Thus, the painter was able to subtly portray the grace and beauty of form and color, admiring their splendor and feeling admiration for them. Roses allow you to express all the bizarreness of the inner world - restrained romance and thoughtful thoughts, enlightened sadness and unbridled delight. The flowers depicted by the artist are able to tell about him, about his soul, his interaction with life, with people, with himself, about his ability to grasp the real content of nature, to notice the charm in plain.
Cranach Lucas the Elder