Syrian landscapes (part 2)
A reflection of this approach was the work of Mamduh Kashlan. In “Local Street”, he depicts a typical street in the old district of the city with picturesque neighborhoods and quaint buildings. A cashlan with a mark of observation conveys many details characteristic of old Damascus – wooden blinds on the windows, asymmetrically located windows on stone walls, consoles supporting balconies, constantly arches. In some paintings, the author gives a panorama of the Syrian capital with a translucent haze of warm air hiding the sharp outlines of buildings, reveals the romantic beginning of the city’s appearance.
In the canvas “Damascus” the artist captured the city blocks, where next to the majestic minarets of the Umayyad mosque, small residential buildings and shops of merchants were sheltered. The author emphasizes the architectural originality of the urban motif, which in its design resembles Arabic calligraphy with its complicated linear contour rhythm.
The theme of Damascus takes a leading place in the work of Ezeddin Himmat. Its immediate and lively landscapes are individual in their picturesque construction. A smear plays a particularly significant role. Now strong and energetic, then light and soft, it helps to feel the materiality of objects. The master’s works are filled with a sense of freshness and immediacy of perception, coming from life observations. In landscapes, color and spatial gradations are subtly designed. The foreground is most often immersed in a transparent cold shadow, which, gradually dissolving, leads the viewer’s gaze into the depths of the street, to more brightly lit places. The perspectives of Himmat’s compositions, as a rule, are interrupted by the silhouette of an arch or a doorway, the linear rhythm is enhanced by color contrast.
In the landscape of “Old Damascus”, Khimmat uses the traditional motif of a street that goes into the distance, developing a complex color scheme built on similar colors. It is through color that the mood of the landscape is conveyed. Before us is a mysterious corner of the ancient capital with a winding street, a small mosque, a cluster of houses with built-in floors. Color does not serve to indicate objects, but expresses an emotional state. And although every brushstroke, confidently laid on the canvas, is clearly readable, a feeling of the reality of space, its unity with the entire surrounding world, is created. The color of the picture is emphasized warm, but there was a place in it for an amazing variety of color shades and combinations, subtly seen in nature.
Among landscape painters who dedicated their work to the old Damascus, Gazi Khaldi. He usually writes typical streets of the city, empty in the midday heat, only occasionally enlivened by lonely figures of people. The composition “Visit” is noteworthy. The general scheme is quite traditional – a street that goes to infinite distance is formed by two walls of houses that are continuously connected. In the foreground is a figure of a young man who seems motionless and lost.