The illustration of Ivan Yakovlevich Bilibin “The Black Horseman” to the fairy tale “Vasilisa the Beautiful” was made in 1900
Fabulous illustrations of I. Ya. Bilibin are peculiar to pattern and decorativeness. The Black Horseman, like the other drawings of the author, is surrounded by an ornament: mythical birds are depicted on the sides, symbolic trees at the bottom, and contours of the inner surface of the tree with fabulous animals at the top. An ornament surrounds the illustration of carved frames framing village windows in old houses. The rhythmic pattern is also present on the rider’s raincoat.
The illustration is filled with the atmosphere of Russian antiquity from a fairy tale. From the real image of nature stands the mysterious and fabulous figure of the rider, symbolizing the night.
Creating a picture, the artist first set the perspective and volume, drawing images with thin black lines. In the future, the resulting contours were filled with watercolor paint. Thus, the details of the drawings did not merge, but remained clear and bright throughout the canvas.
Trees, fern bushes, raincoat and chain mail are worked out in sufficient detail. At the same time, only a few lines and only one color are used for drawing faces. On the emotional state of the hero says the slope and the shape of the head, large, filled with anger eyes, hunched back. The sharp features of the face, the sharp, stopped gaze underscore the malevolence of the rider. The aggression also comes from the deliberately bright and detailed tracing of the horse’s open mouth with huge white teeth. At the same time, the only eye and ears are pressed testify to the fear experienced.
The orange circle of the setting sun, the yellow sky, twisted and broken trees, the black images of the mythical birds underline the anxiety of the plot. Bird features repeat the rider’s face schematically, exacerbating the tension.