Russian Museum
Augmented Reality


Volga and Militia. 1902

Bilibin Ivan,
Watercolour and Indian ink on paper
31 х 25

State Russian Museum

Пост. в 1928 из собрания Д. А. Олсуфьева


Version of illustration to the Russian traditional heroic poem Volga.
Ivan Bilibin’s illustrations to Russian fairy tales and traditional heroic poems demonstrate his artistic talent and knowledge of Old Russian legends. By the time the first illustrations for the traditional heroic poem Volga appeared in 1902, Bilibin already had experience working in book illustration. In the autumn of 1899, he was commissioned by the Organization for the Preparation of State Papers to create a cycle of six Russian folk tales. Volga tells the story of a brave knight who sets out on a journey to India. The poem was published in the form of a large-sized jotter by Golicke & Wilborg in 1904. Bilibin designed the cover, title-page, illumination, colophon, decorations and five page-length illustrations. This work from the Russian Museum’s collection is a variant of one of these illustrations.

Author's Biography

Bilibin Ivan

1876, Tarkhovka, St Petersburg Province — 1942, Leningrad
Graphic artist, theatrical designer. Studied at the Faculty of Law, St Petersburg University (1896–1900), School of Drawing, Society for the Encouragement of Arts (1895–1898), Anton Ažbè’s school in Munich (1898), under Ilya Repin at the Princess Maria Tenisheva School (1898–1900) and at the Higher School of Art, Imperial Academy of Arts (1900–1904). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1900). Founding member of the World of Art (1900–1917). Drew for World of Art, Hell’s Post, Bugbear and Golden Fleece and magazines. Designed for theatres (from 1907). Illustrated and designed children’s books — traditional heroic poems, folk tales and the fairytales of Alexander Pushkin — for publishing houses in St Petersburg (1900s). Illustrated the fairytales of Alexander Pushkin for Goslitizdat (1930s). Created his own highly original style of book design, based on the motifs of Russian folk and medieval art.

© Russian museum 2013-2021