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Knight at the Crossroads. 1882

Vasnetsov Victor,
Oil on Canvas
167 x 299

Пост. в 1902 году из собр. С.И. Мамонтова


Victor Vasnetsov’s painting is a free interpretation of the Russian traditional legend of The Three Journeys of Ilya Muromets. The artist depicts the hero in a moment of reflection, before a stone inscribed with the following words: “If you go straight ahead, there will be no life; there is no way forward for he who travels past, walks past or flies past.”
Victor Vasnetsov interprets the legend as a real event, depicting the knight in ethnographically and historically authentic armour and in a natural landscape setting. The artist employs literary devices to contrast the forces of lightness and darkness — the lucid figure of the knight on the white horse, the ominous black raven on the stone, the skull and bones scattered across the steppe. The interpretation of the landscape as the endless Russian plain and the loneliness of the thickset rider on the horse lend an epic ring to the picture.

Author's Biography

Vasnetsov Victor

Vasnetsov, Victor Mikhailovich
1848, Lopial (Vyatka Province) -1926, Moscow
Painter, author of pictures on themes of Russian history and folklore, genre artist, portraitist, theatrical designer. Studied under Nikolai Chernyshev at the Vyatka Theological Seminary (1860s) and under Ivan Kramskoi (1867-68), Pyotr Basin (1868-75, with intervals), Vasily Vereschagin and Pavel Chistyakov at the School of Drawing, Society for the Encouragement of Artists. Contributed to exhibitions (from 1869). Member of the Abramtsevo circle (from 1881). Visited Paris (1876-77) and Italy (1885).

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