The theme of the fading sun in the works of Russian and Ukrainian artist Arkhip Kuindzhi is realized through a series of paintings, including “Red Sunset”, “Sunset with Trees”, “Sunset over a Pine Forest”, “Sunset in the Steppe on the Sea” and others. All of them were written mainly in the period from 1898 to 1908. Currently, these works are stored in many museums around the world.
A feature of the sunset landscapes of Kuindzhi is their melancholy, minor tone. Extraordinary realism of the image is achieved by using natural natural colors - orange and light yellow, which are shaded with saturated purple. The work is as if saturated with the light of the real sun, the reflections of a blazing sunset, the living breath of nature.
In some of the paintings you can see a metaphor: the gradually and steadily fading sun as the personification of the life cycle, which has its beginning and end. A minor sensation in Kuindzhi's paintings is created with the help of halftones, from the soft flow of flowers one into another. The emotional component of the work is based on the artist’s personal experiences and reflects his elegiac attitude, which merges with a sense of frustration, aimlessness and the inevitable finiteness of human life. In some sunset landscapes of Kuindzhi, the theme of the road is interpreted as a favorite and often found in Russian painting and literature.
In the work "Red Sunset", which is the main one in the so-called "solar cycle" of the artist, a heavenly fire flares up with particular force, illuminating the world with the intense light of the melting sun, ready to give up the rights of the approaching night. Kuindzhi's work often combines the opposite elements: passion and serenity, weakness and strength, day and night, the sun and moon. The sun in pagan representations personifies life, and these ancient folklore motifs are traced in the sunset landscapes of the master.