Isaac Levitan (1860–1900) was a Russian landscape painter who bridged the gap between Realism and Impressionism. He created luminous, poetic landscapes, which have been compared to the work of his contemporary, the French painter Claude Monet.
Levitan was born in Kibarty, Lithuania, then part of the Russian Empire, and was raised in a Jewish family. He studied at the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg from 1873 to 1876. Levitan's early works were in the Realist style, but he soon adopted the lyrical Impressionism favored by the Wanderers, a group of Russian landscape painters with which he was associated.
Levitan's best works are characterized by a delicate atmosphere and a poetic, lyrical quality. He was particularly inspired by the Russian countryside, often painting bucolic scenes of farmlands and forests. He also painted cities, particularly Moscow, which provided a dramatic contrast to his rural scenes.
Levitan's works were immensely popular in Russia and abroad. He was awarded the Order of St. Vladimir First Degree and the Order of St. Anne First Degree. He was also made an honorary member of the Imperial Academy of Arts.
Levitan's works are held in many public collections, including the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, and the Pushkin Museum in Moscow. He has been the subject of several major exhibitions, including a retrospective at the Tretyakov Gallery in 2000.
Levitan died in 1900 at the age of 40, leaving behind a legacy of some of the most iconic landscapes of Russian art.