Fairy tale paintings by Viktor Vasnetsov
Viktor Vasnetsov was a Russian painter and architect, master of historical and folk painting. Artist Apollinary Vasnetsov was his younger brother.
Viktor Mikhailovich Vasnetsov was born on May 15, 1848 in Vyatka province into the family of a village priest. When he was 10 years old, he was sent to Vyatka theological school and then he moved to the seminary. But it was very boring for him at school and seminary. He loved his native nature, the forests in which he grew up, loved to listen to the bylinas and ancient legends about the struggle of the people with the enemies, the stories of fellow countrymen who had visited large cities. From an early age, the future artist tried to sketch what he saw around.
In 1867, Vasnetsov went to Petersburg. He was admitted to the Academy of Arts and studied hard. He was interested in Russian history, the characters of people who lived long ago, folk songs, epics and fairy tales. He was convinced that the whole image of the people, inner and outer, was in the fairy tale, the song, the epic, the drama.
In 1880, the artist showed the first big picture in a new genre – historical painting. It was inspired by the famous The Tale of Igor’s Campaign and was called After the Battle of Igor Svyatoslavovich with the Polovtsi (Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow). A year later he painted one of the most famous of his paintings Alyonushka.
“I believe that Bogatyri by Vasnetsov occupy one of the first places in the history of Russian painting”, V. V. Stasov wrote. The artist worked on the picture for twenty-five years and showed it in 1898 at the exhibition. Ilya Muromets, Dobrynya Nikitich and Alyosha Popovich are protecting their native land from the enemies.
Vasnetsov’s paintings are known to almost everyone. His other works are much less known: monumental paintings, architectural projects, theatrical scenery. The first architectural experience of Vasnetsov was a small church in the beloved Abramtsevo, the estate of his friends the Mamontovs near Moscow. It is built in the style of the northern Russian churches. He also made sketches for mosaics inside the church.
Vasnetsov had the honor to design the facade of the Tretyakov Gallery in the 1900s.
Victor Vasnetsov was one of the first artists to paint for the theater. In 1881, he created sketches of scenery and costumes for the play Snow Maiden (Snegurochka) by A.N. Ostrovsky.
In 1883-1893 the artist devoted himself to monumental painting. Vasnetsov had a rare understanding of history and this helped him to paint a large panel The Stone Age for the Historical Museum in Moscow.
Viktor Vasnetsov died on July 23, 1926 in Moscow.