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Ants Murakin Afternoon 1925–1926 oil, cardboard 70 × 80 cm

Ants Murakin, whose biography is exceedingly full of adventure, moved to Viljandi in the 1920s, where he worked as a drawing teacher and also went about painting landscapes in the surrounding countryside. This motif apparently also depicts the surroundings of Viljandi, although it is known that in his 30s, the artist also visited Germany, Belgium, Italy and Austria. The Viljandi area was already familiar to Murakin since his childhood since he was born not very far from Viljandi.
Here, the painting’s composition attracts attention first and foremost. Murakin has repeatedly used the pyramid form, which already begins in the foreground of the space of the painting, where he places spruce trees in a triangle. The same kind of triangular forms repeat with little hills in the depths of the painting and then in the mass of clouds in the painting’s main event. Murakin is variable in his colouring, using cool tones in the foreground, but prefers altogether warmer tones as he moves into the depths of the space of the painting, bathing them in light, which also gives the painting a certain wistful emotional dimension. By placing deep green and blackening colours side by side in a grove of trees, and yellowish-white colours on strips of fields, Murakin even becomes dramatic: nature lying neutrally beneath the sky suddenly acquires a humane emotional dimension, starts ‘speaking’ to us – as they say. Botanical and topographical distinctive features are composed in such a way that trees are no longer simply trees and mountains are not objects protruding from the landscape, rather they bear within themselves some sort of broader meanings, yearnings, thoughts and feelings.