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Mägi’s southern Estonian paintings often shed light on his depressed mental state, which had reached a clinical stage. The crisis is underscored by a number of elements, including his choice of colours, which becomes darker and more muted. Changes are also seen in the compositions of Mägi’s landscapes. They had been open, stretching into the distance, but now they became more hemmed-in. Even in this work painted in bright life-affirming colours, Mägi walls in the horizon. The space that in the works from Norway, Saaremaa or Viljandi generally stretched into the distance is now cut off. This reduces the level of internal compartmentation within the painting and a sense of spatial depth does not emerge, but it could also indicate the artist’s mindset. The sealing, intimate containment of the painting space is not a sign that he is looking for a safe refuge but an expression of spatial and mental claustrophobia. After arriving from Paris, Mägi also mentions a feeling of no escape in his letters. In February 1915, he writes Aleksander Tassa, where he uses the phrase “there’s no place to be”, “I already fantasize about how and where I could escape from here”, “I’d disappear somewhere toward Siberia” and “I would want to get as far away as possible from here”. In this way, Mägi emphasizes his sense of mental oppression but it is expressed in spatial images: recurring instances of a small, narrow room with no escape.
In this painting, too, we see the space closing in and lack of anywhere to go. At the same time, atypically for this period of his, he pours bright sunlight on the open area in the forest, which creates an odd conflict between the claustrophobic, closed space and intense, uncontained light. We also see his approach to light as a certain overamplification, which may be a testament to becoming free of repressed tensions, like a spring recoiling.
The reproduction of these works without the express written consent of the owner of the works is prohibited.