What can a painting tell us about an artist?

Something I’ve always wondered: how much can you guess about the personality of an unknown artist just by looking at one of their paintings? Can you guess the century or the decade or the country in which it was created? Can you tell anything about the artist's temperament? Does each painting contain all of of an artists's personal and cultural DNA?

This painting dates from 1985 1885 and is by the Russian painter Konstantin Kryzhitsky (1858-1911). I don't know anything about him—if you do, tell us in the comments. But if this painting is any evidence, he must have had a deep soul, a love of mystery, melancholy, and music, and a keen sense of nature's moods that must have come from long walks through the countryside. This painting couldn't have been done by a flippant, urbane, or shallow person.

The great composer, Sergei Rachmaninoff once wrote, “Music should, in the final analysis, be the expression of a complex personality…A composer’s music should express the country of his birth, his love affairs, his religion, the books that have influenced him, the pictures he loves. It should be the product of the sum total of a composer’s experiences.” 

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