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Zhukovsky is a master of landscape, and Forest Lake is one of his very traditional works. The painting depicts a forest lake, a surface of water bounded by distant shores. Trees grow on them, there is a rickety booth - someone's boat shed, perhaps? - and over the lake there is a huge blue sky that resembles the sea in its infinity. Clouds floating on it, cirrus, light, in which it is so pleasant to look out for ships and lambs, float on it, and these same clouds, imitating the sky, reflect the lake.
It also has a dream of being like the sea, and it is trying very hard. The surface of the water is wrinkled by the wind, it drives light ripples along it, which is why the clouds also wrinkle and their shape changes. The far shore, allowing the lake to dream, as if moved over, is limited by a strip of dark blue water, and there are no people in the area except the booth - not a single trace of human presence.
Perhaps the fishermen come to the lake. They build a tent and for several days find themselves excluded from the life of the world. They catch fish and fry it at the stake, drink moonshine taken with them, get up before dawn, when the best nibble is to see how the sun reflects in the lake and catch the best, largest fish.
Perhaps sometimes a lone hunter comes to him. Sitting on the beach, brushing his gun, swimming or picking up water to get drunk - the lake looks so clean, so innocent that it doesn't seem like a bad idea.
Perhaps, sometimes lovers come to him, look at the other side, burn bonfires and talk about the nature of their love, as well as about the beauty of the world around.
Children, mushroom pickers, lost people - they all have something to do near the lake. Catching fish or wandering knee-deep in cool water, swimming, screaming around the neighborhood ...
In the picture, none of this is there. The lake seems ideal for an old riddle: "Is there a sound in the forest, where there is no one to hear it?"
On Valaam Island