Vasnetsov, who is intricately associated with historical and mythological paintings, initially avoided these subjects at all costs.
“Tsarevitch Ivan, the Firebird and the Grey Wolf” 1889 (Painting)In Paris, Vasnetsov starting work on his first fairytale subjects, “Ivan-Tsarevich Riding a Grey Wolf” and “The Friend.” He was also the model for Sadko in Repin’s celebrated painting “Sadko in the Underwater Kingdom.” The large canvas, “Fairground Booths in Paris,” 1876-77 is also a product of Vasnetsov’s Paris period.
“Ivan Tsarevich Riding a Grey Wolf,” 1889, depicts a scene from a popular Russian fairytale. The magical plot has been reflected in numerous literary works and musical pieces. The landscape background was derived from studies made in Abramtsevo. The landscape is very important. Forces of evil surround Ivan Tsarevich and Helen the Fair. The impassable wall of the wood rises in front of them. The artist's imagination has transformed an ordinary wood near Moscow into a fantastic, mysterious wilderness.
A painter, draftsman and graphic artist, Vasnetsov played a primary role in the development of Russian art from the realist traditions of the Wanderers to Art Nouveau.
“A true work of art expresses everything about people,” Vasnetsov believed. “It conveys the past, the present and perhaps the future.”
Love and light,