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Evening Interior

Aleksander Uurits Evening Interior 1910s pastel, charcoal, paper 70 × 50 cm

Aleksander Uurits’s paintings are relatively rare. Only a few dozen of them are known in total. His first paintings were completed in 1909. Several keywords that are characteristic of Uurits’s oeuvre can be seen in this work. The simplicity of the interior alludes to Uurits’s early interest in the living conditions of society’s weaker strata. Yet the weird patch of light and the mysterious mood come across somewhat symbolistically. This can be explained by the artist’s interest in symbolism, which emerged in St. Petersburg. On the one hand, this painting could be interpreted as a simple cosy evening view, yet on the other hand we know of Uurits’s great interest in existential themes (life, birth, death, etc.). Relying on this knowledge, we can interpret the empty yet tidied bed as the passing away of someone and the stooped woman as a mourner, which the window’s large black cross helps to delineate even more clearly. In painterly terms, Uurits has at the same time been strikingly varied, whereas his skilful treatment of light has to be highlighted especially. The little light source at the heart of the picture is its focus, yet take note of the gradual intensification of the colours near the lamp, and their engulfment in the shadows and the emergence of half-tones in the dark corners.