Description of the painting by Viktor Vasnetsov “Bogatyr” (“The Knight at the Crossroads”)

Description of the painting by Viktor Vasnetsov “Bogatyr” (“The Knight at the Crossroads”)

Description of the painting by Viktor Vasnetsov Bogatyr (The Knight at the Crossroads)

Vasnetsov’s painting “The Bogatyr” or “The Knight at the Crossroads” for some reason always evokes associations not with Ilya Muromets, but with Svyatogor, who is looking for where to put strength. Probably because Vasnetsov Ilya of Murom we all know too well “by sight” in the painting “Three Heroes”. However, this is not Svyatogor, and none of the other famous epic heroes. In addition, the faces of the knight, we do not see. The beginning of the picture was put on the sketch of 1870 – “The Knight on the Horse and in the Mail”, it is known that at an earlier stage of the work, Vasnetsov had his hero facing the spectator.

But then, apparently, the content of the inscription on the stone “in the open field” (again, in the earlier versions of the picture, on the sketches, the road WAS, but the artist removed it in the final version. Perhaps, in order to emphasize the hopelessness knightly way: there is only one of the three “traditional” signatures on the stone – “you will go straight, you will not be alive!”. Fragments of skeletons, skulls, scattered in the grass near the stone, argue in this impression. And if you arrive at the dark sunset sky, the ravens over the field, the dramatic sensations increase. So, quite possibly, Vasnetsov painted precisely Svyatoslav, whose path ended tragically. Interestingly, although Vasnetsov worked on the painting for almost fifteen years (of course, working on other canvases in parallel), anyone who saw the picture in the Tretyakov Gallery notes that “it’s not a knight’s spear, infantry!”.

However, this can also be seen on high-quality reproduction: the spear has a “flow”, its second end is also bound – so it is more convenient for the foot to stick it into the ground, reflecting the attack of the same horse-knights. To the rider, such a trim of the lower part of the shaft is not only inconvenient, but can damage! So this work by Vasnetsov, in its own way, is unique not only for the gloominess and even hopelessness that is uncharacteristic of Viktor Mikhailovich’s work, but also with this “spear of the infantryman in the hands of the horse knight”. What is this, the rarest mistake of a genius, or Vasnetsov hints to us that the Russian knight, even having lost a horse (although he removed this particular inscription from a stone), is ready to fight anyone on foot? After all, everyone else – and there are about a hundred! – Vasnetsov’s paintings, sketches, sketches with horse knights and warriors, spears are in order, as, for example, in the painting of 1914 “The Athletic Skok” or the magnificent spear of Ilya Muromets on the famous canvas “Three Bogatyrs”. but also with this “spear of an infantryman in the hands of an equestrian knight”.

What is this, the rarest mistake of a genius, or Vasnetsov hints to us that the Russian knight, even having lost a horse (although he removed this particular inscription from a stone), is ready to fight anyone on foot? After all, everyone else – and there are about a hundred! – Vasnetsov’s paintings, sketches, sketches with horse knights and warriors, spears are in order, as, for example, in the painting of 1914 “The Athletic Skok” or the magnificent spear of Ilya Muromets on the famous canvas “Three Bogatyrs”. but also with this “spear of an infantryman in the hands of an equestrian knight”.

What is this, the rarest mistake of a genius, or Vasnetsov hints to us that the Russian knight, even having lost a horse (although he removed this particular inscription from a stone), is ready to fight anyone on foot? After all, everyone else – and there are about a hundred! – Vasnetsov’s paintings, sketches, sketches with horse knights and warriors, spears are in order, as, for example, in the painting of 1914 “The Athletic Skok” or the magnificent spear of Ilya Muromets on the famous canvas “Three Bogatyrs”.


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