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Fine Art/Art in Dr. Zhivago


Steve wrote at 2008-05-22 02:07:09
The painting mentioned above is not the painting, but I am also looking for a reproduction of this painting. It has always fascinated me during the playing of the overture.

saraub wrote at 2012-10-15 15:50:08
To Mark H: I've been searching for the same piece (or pieces?) for years myself!  The film has great sentimental meaning to my husband and me - we've been searching for the artist as well.

To Dan: Unfortunately, Isaak Levitan is not the artist we are looking for.  The paintings in the opening credits of Dr. Zhivago are more abstract than Levitan's work.

Any other ideas?

Old_Warhorse wrote at 2012-11-20 06:07:15
I've been looking for these paintings for years myself and only just realized after reading up a bit on the matte painters involved in "Doctor Zhivago" that the opening title sequence was likely a matte painting.  If you look closely at the opening titles, you will see that the silhouettes of the birch trees themselves don't change, it's only the coloration, shading and impressions of leaves and sky in the background that change.  In all likelihood, the birch trees were a matte painting on glass that was used just for that opening title sequence and then destroyed, like most other matte paintings at that time in film history.  It kills me to think this, but it is most likely the case.

The only way I can think of to reproduce these would be to take an HD screen capture and use a paint program, such as Adobe Creative Suite, to replicate the variations in color and background.

Tina wrote at 2013-07-09 17:45:50
Isaac Levitan seems to be the source inspiration for the artwork of the opening credits for Dr. Zhivago.  In particular, "Aspen Forest", and "High Water" seem to be some of the source material.  I suggest you use the search term "Isaac Levitan" and find a good site with all of his paintings.  I believe you will find more than a few paintings that suggest Mr. Levitan's artwork may have been seen by director David Lean before filming Zhivago. Many of Levitan's works would appear to be source material for outdoor images created by Lean in Zhivago, such as Autumn 1895, and certainly "Gray Day 1895" brings strongly to mind the prolonged train trip Yuri Zhivago and his family took to Varykino. Though you won't find the exact image from the film, many of his works will bring to mind the beauty of the film.

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Daniel A. Hynes


Collecting, buying, selling, identifying, and caring for paintings, drawings,and watercolors (19th and early 20th century American and European). No prints, contemporary art, or works executed after 1940.


35 years as a fine art dealer, including 3 years as a gallery director. Also was art expert for Leslie Hindman's Auctioneers, and for Dunning's Auction.

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