Description of the picture:
Ivan Tsarevich on the Gray Wolf – Victor Mikhailovich Vasnetsov. 1889. Oil on canvas. 249×187
Painting Vasnetsov "Ivan Tsarevich on the Gray Wolf" Undoubtedly the most fabulous work of Russian fine art. The plot is based on an exciting folk tale. The Tsarevich with abducted Elena the Beautiful run away from the chase on the faithful Gray Wolf. The prince anxiously peers into the dense forest, he confidently and firmly holds Elena. The kidnapped one was completely submissive to her fate. Clinging to her captor, she tries not to look around, frightened by the abduction itself, the forest, the wolf.
The Gray Wolf is of particular interest to the viewer. The Wolf has special eyes – human. Before us is a werewolf, or volkolak, as it was called by the Slavs since ancient times. However, there is nothing bloodthirsty or wild in his appearance. His image is full of devotion, courage, self-sacrifice.
Gray Wolf is flying fast through the forest. If you look closely, you can see that the whole group of heroes seems to be hovering over a forest swamp surrounded by a dense and ominous forest. Swamp lilies and a blossoming apple tree revive the surrounding landscape. Where did the apple tree come from near the forest swamp? This detail refers the viewer to the plot of the tale, in which it was from the apple tree that brings the golden apples that everything began.
The fabulousness of the plot is emphasized by the clothes of the main characters. The prince’s caftan embroidered with gold harmonizes perfectly with Elena’s blue silk robe. Gold and blue colors in Slavic mythology were tightly connected with the mountain world, magic, miracles. The Gray Wolf is by no means gray; its fur is golden brown, as if repeating the color of the prince’s clothes he serves. The whole picture is filled with a kind of mysterious flicker, a miracle, a fairy tale itself."