Victor Vasnetsov Paintings

 

 Towards the close of the 19th century, Russian artists showed a growing interest in Russian folklore. This is most clearly manifested by Victor Vasnetsov (1843-1926). One of his many paintings, based on a subject borrowed from Russian fairy tales, is his Knight at the Crossroads. The hero has paused by a stone, the inscription upon which reads:” Further passage barred to man, beast, or fowl”. The ominous landscape with crows hovering over a marsh and the mortal remains of fallen warriors instills a sense of anxiety. But despite the sinister inscription, the dauntless knight will clearly choose the most dangerous road in his struggle against the forces of evil.

 

Victor Vasnietsov, as intensely national in sentiment as Repin, but drawn to the mystic and legendary rather than to the concrete aspect of things, painted the Vitiazy, or Knights of Old Russia, with splendid vigour and imagination. The " Three Warriors," who have just drawn rein, and sit their wild hairy horses like centaurs, while they gaze over the Steppe, alert and ready for the foe, are certainly not Galahads or courtly Lancelots, but rough, sturdy champions of Christendom against the heathen tribes, the Pechenegs, the Drevlyans, and Polovtsi, when as yet the new faith had hardly had time to obliterate all remembrance of Perun the Thunderer and their own Slavonic deities.

The Russian Arts. Rosa Newmarch, 1917

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