Russian critics love Thomson's pictures

Russian critics have given an exhibition of pictures by Canadian painter Tom Thomson an enthusiastic welcome.

Russian critics have welcomed an exhibition of pictures by Canadian painter Tom Thomson with enthusiastic reviews.

"We see familiar scenes of birches, lakes, mountains ... Canadian nature is like ours. Perhaps this is why we feel such a bond with this work," online critic Alexandra Baluyeva wrote.

Other Russian observers reached similar conclusions, although one said Thomson was very different from Russian landscape painters because his pictures are uninhibited, where Russian landscape artists are more formal.

"Thomson represents the unique national artistic heritage of a still very young country, Canada," Kira Dolinina wrote in a Moscow paper.

The Thomson exhibition of 58 pictures is the first by a solo Canadian artist in the famed State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.

It's also his first major international exposure, and will help to introduce him to an international audience, exhibit organizers said.

Thomson, who died in 1917, is considered a mentor to the Group of Seven, founded in 1920. His iconic pictures of the Canadian wilderness helped define a distinct style.

The exhibit has been open for a week and will end Nov. 14.