“Oak Fractured by Lightning” is an oil painting created by Russian landscape artist Maxim Vorobiev in 1842. Most of Vorobiev’s paintings depict peaceful sceneries including countrysides, seasides, rivers and trees. However, this painting is strikingly different. “Oak” was painted as a metaphor for what it is like to lose a loved one, in this case, Vorobiev’s wife.
The painting’s overall mood is gloom and anguish. There is a wind, as illustrated by the tree branches and leaves tilted to the side, communicating emotional instability. The viewer’s attention is directed to the middle of the painting, where there’s a sharp contrast between the bright lightning strike breaking through the dark sky and oak tree, symbolizing severe shock. It appears that the lightning bolt has cut the oak tree in half, expressing the intense, heart-wrenching pain of the sudden death of someone you love.