We had fallen, but we were redeemed


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Fallen Angel by Alexandre Cabanel, 1847 (Wiki2.org.)

I would like to direct you to Silence – an Advent Quest – Silent Night (Silkannthreades)

I read this post and other Advent posts from Silkannthreades in December 2018. They were inspiring. I remembered childhood. We waited through Advent and then attended Midnight Mass. The choir always sang Silent Night.

Silent Night has a story.

In our eyes, a child was born to Mary and Joseph, but unlike other children, He was God the Son. After Mass, we put a porcelain figure of Jesus in his crib. For us, He was born at midnight, as in Minuit, chrétiens (O Holy Night).

We had fallen, but we were redeemed.

I can still hear the silence.

Love to everyone 💕

Hector BerliozL’Enfance du Christ


Adoration of the Shepherds by Dutch painter Matthias Stomer, 1632 (Wiki2.org.)

© Micheline Walker
22 January 2019


The Eastern Church: Intuition vs Reason


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Michelangelo‘s painting of the sin of Adam and Eve from the Sistine Chapel ceiling (Wiki2.org.)


bold letters are mine, except anamnesis

I may have used the word anamnesis in an earlier post. Human beings have created mythologies in an attempt to make sense of their origin and their human condition. We are mere mortals. (See Christian Mythology, Wiki2.org.)

“In philosophyanamnesis is a concept in Plato‘s epistemological and psychological theory that he develops in his dialogues Meno and Phaedo, and alludes to in his  Phaedrus.”

“It is the idea that humans possess innate knowledge (perhaps acquired from birth) and that learning consists of rediscovering that knowledge within us.”

Mythologies: the Fall

There are links between mythologies, which suggests a cross-cultural knowledge “within us.” The flood is one. However, the more frequent link is the theory of a fall from a more perfect state to a less perfect state, a fall we remember. John Milton’s Paradise Lost  (1667) is Christian Mythology. So is Alphonse de Lamartine‘s L’Homme:

Borné dans sa nature, infini dans ses vœux,
L’homme est un dieu tombé qui se souvient des cieux[.]
[Limited in his nature, infinite in his wishes,
Man is a fallen god who remembers heaven.]

In Greek mythology, as used by Jean Racine in Phèdre (Phædra), first performed in 1677, Phèdre is descended from Helios, god of the Sun, but her mother is Pasiphaë, who gave birth to the Minotaur, the son of a bull. Phasiphaë has sinned. Her husband, Minos, king of Crete, keeps the Minotaur in the Cretan Labyrinth, built by Dædalus. Ariadne falls in love with Theseus and gives him a thread and a sword. He kills the Minotaur and leaves the labyrinth using the thread. Theseus does not marry Ariadne, he marries Phèdre, Ariadne’s sister and Pasiphaë’s daughter. But Phèdre, Pasiphaë’s daughter, falls in love with Hippolytus, Theseus’ son by Antiope, an Amazon, and she cannot control her feelings. Phèdre reflects the influence Jansenism exerted on Jean Racine. (See Phèdre, Wiki2.org.)

Jean Racine’s tragedy is based on Greek mythology, but Racine had been exposed to Jansenism. According to Jansenists, human beings were predestined to be saved or suffer the torments of hell. Augustine of Hippo‘s harsh view of the consequences of the Original Sin led to a heresy, Jansenism, which throws light on Phèdre’s powerlessness, but does not make Saint Augustine a lesser theologian and father of the Christian Church. He is the author of the The City of GodOn Christian Doctrine and, especially, his Confessions. He had been a sinner, but converted at the age of 31.

The Original Sin

  • the Western Church
  • the Eastern Church

In both the Eastern and Western Churches, and in Judaism, Adam and Eve sinned by eating the forbidden fruit, which is the Original Sin. It led to their removal from the  Garden of Eden, or Paradise. They became mere mortals, which is called the human condition. In the Western Church, humans beings are born guilty of the Original Sin.

However, the Eastern Church proposes more lenient consequences to Adam and Eve’s sin. Adam and Eve sinned, which is the first or original sin, but it does not mean that individual human beings are born guilty of the original sin and must be rushed to the baptismal font.

Matters are changing. Today “[b]oth East and West hold that each person is not called to atone for the actual sin committed by Adam and Eve.”
(See East-West Schism,Original sin, free will and the Immaculate Conception, Wiki2.org.)

The Conversion of St. Augustine by Fra Angelico (Wiki2.org.)

Augustine of Hippo

Concerning the Original Sin, one may wish to read Saint Augustine and the Original Sin.

Saint Augustine of Hippo (13 November 354 – 28 August 430 CE) was not translated into Greek until the 14th century, the 1300’s. The Christian Byzantine Empire was a Greek-language Empire.

“His works were not translated into Greek until the 14th century; as such, he had little or no influence on mainstream Orthodox thought until 17th century Ukraine and 18th century Russia, primarily through the influence of western clergy and the establishment of theological schools which relied on Latin models with respect to curricula, text books, etc.”

(See Saint Augustine and the Original Sin)

One may argue that Greek-speaking Christians who convened at the First Council of Nicaea, in 325 CE, and convened again at the Council of Constantinople (the former Byzantium), in 381 CE, both ecumenical, may have known Latin, but Saint Augustine lived between 354 and 430 CE.

“The Eastern Church makes no use at all of Augustine. Another Orthodox view is expressed by Christos Yannaras, who described Augustine as ‘the fount of every distortion and alteration in the Church’s truth in the West’.”
(See East-SchismOriginal sin, free will and the Immaculate Conception, Wiki2.org)

The East-West Schism of 1054 occurred, if not 729 (from 325 CE) years, at least 673 years (from 381), after the Christian Church was founded at the First Council of Nicaea and the Council of  Constantinople.

 “Rome must not require more from the East than had been formulated and what was lived in the first millennium.” (Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI)
(See East-West SchismTheological reconciliation, Wiki2.org.)

It should also be noted that the Western Church wanted Mary to be born untainted to the extent of making the Immaculate Conception a dogma in 1854. In 1854, Pope Pius IX, using papal infallibility, or ex cathedra issued papal bull Ineffabilis Deusmaking the  Immaculate Conception a doctrine or dogma-

On 1st November 1950, by exercising papal infallibility, Pope Pius XII issued the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus making the Assumption of Mary an article of faith, or doctrine, or dogma.

The Eastern Church rejected the Immaculate Conception. It would not be a dogma until 1854, but it was a rationalization.

“These doctrinal issues center around the Orthodox perception that the Catholic theologians lack the actual experience of God called theoria and thereby fail to understand the importance of the heart as a noetic or intuitive faculty.”
(See East-West Schism, Theological Reconciliation (Wiki2.org.)

Similarly, The Five (composers) attempted to compose distinct Russian music, an Eastern music. They composed superb music, but what they expressed was a “knowledge within them.” So their endeavour was an anamnesis. They were using the “intuitive faculty.”

As  noted in my last post, “[a] major event of the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II), was the issuance by Pope Paul and Orthodox Patriarch Athenagoras I of Constantinople of the Catholic–Orthodox Joint Declaration of 1965.”

This has been seen as good will on the part of both the Eastern and Western Churches. After a millenium, going further may not be a realistic goal.

“Catholics [Christians] accept as valid the Eastern Orthodox intuitive [“knowledge within us”] and mystical understanding of God and consider it complementary to the rational Western reflection.”
(See East-West Schism, cannot locate, Wiki 2.org.)

Although the Western Church’s repertoire of liturgical music contains masterpieces of spirituality, the Eastern Church is the richer source of music reflecting an “intuitive and mystical understanding of God,” “innate knowledge.”


Blaise Pascal wrote a famous pensée (thought):

Le cœur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît point[.]
[The heart has its reasons that reason does not know.]


Sources and Resources

  • Augustine of Hippo’s Confessions is a Wikisource publication
  • Jean Racine’s Phèdre is a Wikisource publication
  • Phaedra is Gutenberg’s [EBook #1977]

I apologize for a rather lengthy absence. I was exhausted and had to regroup.

Love to everyone 💕

Sergei Rachmaninoff‘s Praise the Lord
performed by the USSR Ministry of Culture Chamber Choir.

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St. Augustine’s Confessions, Manuscript on vellum. Germany, first half 13th century. (Wikisource)

© Micheline Walker
19 January 2019

The Eastern Church’s Theotokos


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Theotokos of Vladimirtempera on panel, 104 x 69 cm, painted about 1130 in Constantinople (Wiki2.org.)


  • the Eastern Church
  • the Western Church

In Eastern or Orthodox Churches, the Western Church’s Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus of Nazareth, is called the Theotokos, a Greek word meaning literally the “Birth-Giver of God.” Moreover, in Orthodox Churches, also called the Byzantine Rite, the Theotokos has always been portrayed in the same way. In the Western Church, depictions of Mary differ from artist to artist and from art movement to art movement. The Western Church has paintings and statues of the Virgin Mary, but the Theotokos is an icon.

The Theotokos

The image at the top of this post shows a very precious icon, the Theotokos of Vladimir. It is a Byzantine icon of the Virgin and Child dating to the Kormenian period and predating the Fall of Constantinople, on 29 May 1453, the capital of the Christian Byzantine Empire. Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Empire, further dividing the Eastern and Western Churches, which separated in 1054. Byzantine icons survived the Great Schism.


Our Lady of Kazan, a 16th-century copy (Yelokhovo Cathedral, Moscow)

The Theotokos of Vladimir was painted in Constantinople and resembles the Theotokos of Kazan. The Theotokos of Kazan is a copy, the original was likely destroyed 1904, but I would call it archetypal. It was likely painted in or about 1131 and was a gift from the Greek Patriarch of Constantinople to Grand Duke Yury Dolgorukiy of Kyiv. The Icon was housed in Mezhyhirskyi Monastery. But the Theotokos of Vladimir was stolen when Andrei Bogolyubsky sacked Kyiv, in 1169. It was taken to Vladimir, a medieval capital of Russia located two hundred kilometers east of Moscow. (See Theotokos of Vladimir, Wiki2.org.)

The Theotokos is regarded as the holy protectress of Russia.” The Theotokos of Vladimir is now housed in a functioning church in the Tretyakov Gallery, in Moscow. (See Theotokos of Vladimir, Wiki2.org.) Vladimir’s Theotokos is described as iconography of the Eleusa (tenderness). Such icons of the Theotokos show Jesus “cuddling up” to his mother.

The Great Schism of 1054

  • the Original Sin
  • the Immaculate Conception
  • Saint Augustine

East and West remained united despite several disputes, but these culminated in the  Great Schism of 1054. The East-West Schism involves many issues, such as the Trinity. God is one but in three coeternal consubstantial persons or hypostases. However, we will focus on one dispute: the Immaculate Conception

In 1054, the Eastern Church rejected the Immaculate Conception. According to Augustine of Hippo (13 November 354 – 28 August 430 CE), a revered father of the Church, humans were born guilty of the Original Sin. They were tainted until Baptism.

However, Mary, the mother of the Redeemer could not be born stained. She had to be born free of the Original Sin. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia,

[t]he formal active essence of original sin was not removed from her soul, as it is removed from others by baptism; it was excluded, it never was in her [Mary’s] soul. Simultaneously with the exclusion of sin.

(See The Immaculate Conception, The Catholic Encyclopedia.)

Mary was not “exempt from sorrow, bodily infirmities, and death,” but she was redeemed through the same merits of Christ.

The immunity from original sin was given to Mary by a singular exemption from a universal law through the same merits of Christ, by which other men are cleansed from sin by baptism.

The Eastern Church  rejected the rather convoluted Immaculate Conception.


The Immaculate Conception was indeed difficult to accept. Yet, this doctrine was not dogmatically defined in the Catholic Church until 1854 when Pope Pius IX, declared ex cathedra, i.e., using papal infallibility, in his papal bull Ineffabilis Deus, the Immaculate Conception to be doctrine. (See Immaculate Conception, Wiki2.org.)

We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.

(See Ineffabilis Deus, Wiki2.org.)

Not only does the Eastern Church reject the Immaculate Conception, but it also rejects papal infallibility. In the Eastern Church, the Theotokos falls asleep, which is called the Dormition of the Mother of God. But, on 1 November 1950, in the apostolic constitution Munificentissimus DeusPope Pius XII used papal infallibility to make the Assumption of the Virgin Mary a dogma.

The Immaculate Conception is celebrated on 8 December in the Western Church and 9 December, in the Eastern Church. The Assumption of the Virgin Mary is celebrated on 15 August in both the Western and Eastern Churches, but 15 August is August 28, N.S. for those following the Julian Calendar.


Would that I could conclude this post appropriately. The Parables of Jesus of Nazareth and Mariology are favourite topics. Dogmas are not.

Eastern Orthodox concepts of Mary have been mostly expressed in liturgy and are not subject to a central dogmatic teaching office.

(See Mariology, Wiki2.org.)

But the debate is over. “In 1965, Pope Paul VI and the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Athenagoras I  nullified the anathemas of 1054 although this nullification of measures taken against a few individuals was essentially a goodwill gesture and did not constitute any sort of reunion.” (See East-West Schism, Wiki2.org.)

It may be that this nullifaction was a “goodwill gesture,” but there were genuine benefits to this goodwill gesture. Basically, East or West, a Christian is a Christian. The Theotokos of Vladimir is in the Tretyakov Gallery, in a functioning church.  It cannot go out of style.

I read a sentence, the source of which is Britannica, but cannot find again. However, it read that “[t]he Byzantine heritage survived … mainly because the Orthodox church showed an astonishing internal strength and a remarkable administrative flexibility.” The eastern church has Synods, each of which is autonomous, rather than one Holy See. (See Autocephaly, Wiki2.org.)

However, what led me to investigate the Immaculate Conception and, in the process, mention the Assumption, is the extraordinary spirituality of Russia’s liturgical music. It shows “astonishing internal strength.”


Love to everyone 💕


© Micheline Walker
12 January 2019

Becoming a Senior Citizen


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A Fisher Girl, by Ilya Repin, 1874 (wikiart.org.)

I apologize for not posting for a long time. I was asked to prepare a “protection mandate” and a Will. I am told that it is ordinary business. However, if at all possible, I will take care of my cat until nature takes him away. He will be eleven in April. I will also take care of myself.

However, I’ve not been idle. I have been comparing the Western Church, Catholicism’s Virgin Mary in particular, and the Eastern Church’s Theotokos, the Birth-Giver of God.

This subject is a little more complicated than one would suspect. The two Churches are both united and different.

I will publish my post as soon as my cat lets me use the computer’s keyboard.

Nikolai Lugansky plays Rachmaninoff‘s Études-Tableaux, Opus 33

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A bouquet of flowers by Ilya Repin, 1878 (wikiart.org.)

© Micheline Walker
9 January 2019









Marc-André Hamelin rearranges… Chopin


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An Encore: The “Minute Waltz

Marc-André Hamelin (b. 1961) is a Canadian virtuoso pianist and a composer, born and raised in MontrealQuebec. No piece is too difficult for him. He has often praised the nun who taught him how to play the piano. His father should also be praised.

He is a graduate of L’École Vincent-d’Indy, in Montreal, and then studied at Temple University in Philadelphia.

He lives in BostonMassachusetts, a fine location, with his second wife, Katie Fuller, a pianist and WGBH classical music broadcaster.

I need not tell you that Marc-André has a sense of humour.

The Minute Waltz is Frédéric Chopin’s Op 64, No 1.

Love to everyone 💕

Hamelin in 2003 (Wiki2.org)

© Micheline Walker
4 January 2019



Walter J. Phillips’ Manitoba


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Little Log House, a woodcut, by Walter J. Phillips

Walter J. Phillips (25 October 1884 – 5 July 1963) was born in Lincolnshire, England and studied at the Birmingham School of Art.

He moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 1913 where he lived for 28 years. He died in 1963 in Victoria, British Columbia. He was a resident artist at the Banff Centre, then known as the Banff School of Fine Arts. He became a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. I love his art.

Phillips was very interested in Japanese prints. The work shown above is a woodcut.

Many new Canadians first settled in Winnipeg. My husband’s grandmother, the wife of a British aristocrat, was sent to Winnipeg. Her husband claimed their son was conceived by a “lover.” I suspect he wanted a younger wife. Fortunately, her son received a good education and always looked after his disconsolate mother.

You may remember that Winnipeg had been the Earl of Selkirk‘s Red River Colony. After Rupert’s Land was purchased by a fledging confederation (c. 1867). Louis Riel negotiated Manitoba’s entry into Confederation. He was hanged in 1885 for the execution of Orangeman Thomas ScottOrangemen prevented French-speaking and Catholic Canadians from settling in the land the legendary voyageurs had opened up. They were educated in English-language schools. The matter was not solved until the Official Languages Act of 1969, and not altogether.

Moreover, the newly confederated Canada sent Amerindians to reservations. Many Canadians have Amerindian ancestry, prairie Métis, primarily, but also the people of Quebec and other provinces. Many settlers to New France married Amerindian women because France was not sending women to its colony. 

The Great Plains

I lived in Regina in the late 1970s, but my work was not related to my professional qualifications. I was offered a position as translator in Winnipeg, but decided to accept a teaching position at St. Francis Xavier University, in Nova Scotia. I loved Nova Scotia, but regret my decision to teach at StFX. Everything went wrong. The life of a translator would have suited me and I loved the prairies. One could see forever.

So here I am. Probably a descendant of an Amerindian who lived in the 1600s and the former wife of a British aristocrat. My past has been leaping at me from behind. Do you think this is a temporary disorder, or am I about to write a book?

What will 2019 bring?

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation just published an interesting document which I am enclosing:

Ode to Manitoba winter: Love it or hate it, season has inspired artists for 200 years

It features this lovely painting.

Season’s Greetings to everyone 💛

Our Street in Winnipeg, 1933, by Walter J. Phillips. (Loch Gallery, Calgary) (the CBC)


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Walter J. Phillips’ The Red River in Winter, 1927, shows the blue shadows on snow that he loved. (National Gallery of Canada)

© Micheline Walker
2 January 2019







The Huron Noël, or “Jesous Ahatonhia”


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Ojibwa Camp Northern Shore of Lake Huron by Frederick A. Verner (1873)

Indian encampment on Lake Huron, by Paul Kane (1848–50)

Missionaries to New France had to adapt Christianity so their converts could understand it. Amerindian languages were simple languages that did not provide “black robes” with ways of expressing abstract notions. To befriend Amerindians they therefore chose to sing with their congregation.

“Jesous Ahatonhia”

The best-known piece composed for Amerindians is the Huron carol entitled: “Jesous Ahatonhia.”  It was composed in 1643 for the Hurons at Ste Marie, in all likelihood, by Jean de Brébeuf, a Jesuit missionary, who was tortured to death by Iroquois Amerindians and has become a mythic figure. The Huron Noël belongs to Canada‘s répertoire of Christmas carols. The melody was borrowed from a French song entitled: Une jeune pucelle (A Young Maiden).

Jesous was translated into French by Paul Picard, an Amerindian notary at Quebec City and, into English, by Jesse Edgar Middleton. It was then adapted for voice and piano by Healey Willan (ca 1927), an Anglo-Canadian organist and composer (12 October 1880 in Balham, London – 16 February 1968, in Toronto, Ontario).

I have written down two stanzas of the Huron carol and two stanzas of its French translation, and a full English translation. To access the French lyrics, please click on Jesous Ahatonhia.

Huron lyrics

Ehstehn yayau deh tsaun we yisus ahattonnia/ O na wateh wado:kwi nonnwa ‘ndasqua entai / ehnau sherskwa trivota nonnwa ‘ndi yaun rashata / Iesus Ahattonnia, Ahattonnia, Iesus Ahattonnia /  

Asheh kaunnta horraskwa deh ha tirri gwames / Tishyaun ayau ha’ndeh ta aun hwa ashya a ha trreh / aundata:kwa Tishyaun yayaun yaun n-dehta /  Iesus Ahattonnia, Ahattonnia, Iesus Ahattonnia / 

French lyrics

Chrétiens, prenez courage, / Jésus Sauveur est né! / Du malin les ouvrages / À jamais sont ruinés. / Quand il chante merveille, / À ces troublants appas / Ne prêtez plus l’oreille: / Jésus est né: In excelsis gloria! 

Oyez cette nouvelle, /Dont un ange est porteur! /Oyez! âmes fidèles, / Et dilatez vos cœurs. / La Vierge dans l’étable / Entoure de ses bras / L’Enfant-Dieu adorable. / Jésus est né: In excelsis gloria! 

English lyrics (Huron Noël) 🎶

‘Twas in the moon of wintertime when all the birds had fled
That mighty Gitchi Manitou sent angel choirs instead;
Before their light the stars grew dim and wondering hunters heard the hymn,
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, in excelsis gloria.

Within a lodge of broken bark the tender babe was found;
A ragged robe of rabbit skin enwrapped his beauty round
But as the hunter braves drew nigh the angel song rang loud and high
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, in excelsis gloria.

The earliest moon of wintertime is not so round and fair
As was the ring of glory on the helpless infant there.
The chiefs from far before him knelt with gifts of fox and beaver pelt.
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, in excelsis gloria.

O children of the forest free, O seed of Manitou
The holy Child of earth and heaven is born today for you.
Come kneel before the radiant boy who brings you beauty peace and joy.
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, in excelsis gloria. 

I attempted to copy this post, written six years ago, but couldn’t. I rewrote it.


Sources and Resources

  1. Timothy J. McGee, The Music of Canada (New York, London: W.W. Norton, 1985)
  2. The Canadian Encyclopedia


A Happy New Year to everyone 💛

Sunset, Whitefish Bay, Lake of the Woods by Walter Phillips, 1919 (AGC)

© Micheline Walker
31 December 2018

Hymn of the Cherubim


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In the forest at winter by Isaac Levitan, 1855 (WikiArt.org.)

Let this be my shortest post. The painting is by Isaac Levitan and the music, Tchaikovsky‘s. Choirs are Russian or Bulgarian.


Love to everyone 💛

Hymn of the Cherubim by The USSR Ministry Of Culture Chamber Choir


In the forest at winter by Isaac Levitan, 1855 (WikiArt.org.)

© Micheline Walker
31 December 2018

The Art of Aleksey Savrasov


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Early Spring Thaw by Aleksey Savrasov, 1785 (Wikiart.org.)

Early Days and Education

  • a Romantic

I have mentioned Savrasov (1830 – 1897) in two earlier posts. In one of these posts, I combined a short discussion of the artist and a list of newspapers. I also wrote that Aleksey Savrasov was Isaac Levitan’s teacher and had been a member of the Peredvizhniki group. The Peredvizhniki (the Wanderers) group protested academic restrictions. I will add that, at the beginning of his career, Savrasov’s paintings were considered Romantic. The romantics expressed sentiment and individualism as their country entered its Industrial Age, William Blake‘s “dark, satanic mills.”

Savrasov was born in Moscow and studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (MSPSA) under professor Karl Rabus (1800-1857). In 1852, Sarasov traveled to the Ukraine. Then, in 1854, the Grand Duchess Maria Nikolayevna, President of the Imperial Academy of Arts, commissioned several works from him. Savrasov therefore moved to Oranienbaum, near Saint Petersburg.


“View in the Neighbourhood of Oranienbaum,” 1754, earned Savrasov his membership in the Russian Academy of Arts.

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View in the Neighourhood of Oranienbaum, Aleksey Savrasov, 1854 (Wikiart.org.)

In 1854, Savrasov’s View in the Neighbourhood of Oranienbaum (1854), earned him membership in the Imperial Academy of Arts. By the invitation of the Grand Duchess Maria Nikolayevna, President of the Imperial Academy of Arts, he moved to the neighbourhood of St. Petersburg.


Winter by Aleksei Savrasov, 1873 (Wikiart.org.)

Winter by Aleksei Savrasov, 1870 (Wikiart.org.)

The Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (MSPSA)

  • a teacher
  • a friendship with Vasily Perov
  • a rich social life

In 1857, the year Savrasov married Sophia Karlevna Hertz, the sister of art historian Karl Hertz (1820-1883), he became a teacher at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (MSPSA). His best students were Isaac Levitan and Konstantin Korovin, who had fond memories of him.

In Moscow, he and his wife entertained art lovers and art collectors, including Pavel Tretyakov, who gave his art gallery to Russia in 1892. At this time in his life, Savrasov had a fine and productive relationship with artist Vasily Perov. Savrasov helped Perov paint his Bird catcher and Hunters on Bivouac and Perov helped Savrasov paint the boat trackers in his Volga.

The International Exhibition in England

  • England
  • Switzerland

In 1662, Savrasov travelled to Europe to see England’s International Exhibition and also went to visit Switzerland. The lesson he drew from visiting the International Exhibition in England was that no academies could so promote an artist as an international exhibition. (See Aleksey Savrasov, Wiki2.org.)

Alcoholism and Death

In the late 1870s, after the death of this daughter, Savrasov became an alcoholic. No one could help. In 1882, he was dismissed from the MSPSA. The following line is very moving: “Only the doorkeeper of the MSPSA and Pavel Tretyakov, founder of the Tretyakov Gallery, were present at his funeral in 1897.” (See Aleksey Savrasov, Wiki2.org.)

The Rooks have returned by Aleksey Savrasov, 1871  (Wikiart.org.)

A Spring Day by Aleksei Savrasov, 1873 (Wikiart.org)


  • masterpieces
  • the transitional & the eternal
  • the lyrical landscape

Savrasov’s “The Rooks have returned” (1871) is considered one of his finest, if not his finest, painting. But so many of Savrasov’s paintings are masterpieces that saying one is the best is a genuine challenge.

For instance, “A Spring Day” (1873) is perfection and it touches us because it depicts the beginning of a season. Human beings have painted the seasons for a very long time and they have kept Books of Hours. Jean de France, duc de Berry‘s Très Riches Heures depicts each month of the year and its labour. Savrasov’ paintings often portray transitions and, therefore, renewal They show the end or beginning of a season, the end of winter, in particular. Seasons follow seasons eternally. Life rises again, irrepressibly.

Note that smoke comes out of the chimney of the first little brown homes. Until now, the Industrial Revolution, humans have protected themselves. We have dealt with the elements, found a refuge and built roads and fences. The pale green of trees in the background allows us to get a clear view of the disheveled trees burgeoning.

From the point of view of composition, “A Spring Day” has several golden sections. A golden section/ratio resembles an off-center crucifix. One of two lines, an horizontal and a vertical line, is longer than the other line. “A Spring Day” shows a long horizontal line that crosses a vertical line. The meeting point is a group trees. Perspective is achieved by the change in colouring from dark to pale. Moreover, there is a road, or vanishing point (le point de fuite). There is no flaw in the composition of “A Spring Day.”

The sky sits above a long arched line supported by small trees on the right and the bulkier houses on the left.

“A Spring Thaw,” the painting placed at the beginning of this post, combines diagonal and other lines. They are hints of Japonisme. Moreover, the colouring is very smooth.

Savrasov’s softens his landscapes as though each were a praise of nature and a prayer.


  • The Art of Isaac Levitan (8 December 2018)

Sources and Resources


Love to everyone 💕

On the music of Sergei Prokofieff

Basso profondo as accompaniment

The Rooks have arrived by Aleksey Savrasov, 1880 (Wikiart.org)

© Micheline Walker
27 December 2018











A Merry Christmas to All


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I wanted to copy a post, but something went wrong. My computer or platform could not copy the post. I did not attempt to revive the computer.

However, I found a winter scene painted by Aleksey Savrasov. Aleksey Savrasov was Isaac Levitan‘ teacher. Savrasov created the lyrical landscape and Levitan, the mood landscape. The terms are interchangeable.

Both joined the Peredvizhniki group, but Levitan did so later than Savrasov.

The group was superseded by Mir iskusstvaa movement, but later a magazine, whose chief editor was Sergei Diagnilev, of the future Ballets Russes.

The post I wanted to publish a second time was Salve Regina: the Season’s Antiphon, published on 3 August 2017.


I lost my voice on 11 December. I phoned my doctor, whispering. He asked that I visit him at the clinic. When I phoned, whispering, he diagnosed sinusitis. He was busy. The pharmacy sent a nose cleaning kit. It was and remains bronchitis. The pharmacy will send medication this afternoon.

The video is a short piece, but very moving. I am very fond of liturgical music.

My best wishes to all of you.  May this be your finest Christmas or holidays ever.


“Our Father” from “Sacred Treasures III:”
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Performed by St. Petersburg Chamber Choir
Directed by Nikolai Korniev
Recorded in St. Catherine’s Lutheran Church, St. Petersburg, Russia

The Rooks have come back by Savrasov, 1871 (Wikiart.org.)

© Micheline Walker
25 December 2018