Odysseus and Navzikaya, Serov, 1910

Description of the picture:

Odysseus and Navzikaya – Valentin Aleksandrovich Serov. 1910. Gouache on cardboard. 83.5×101.5

   Proudly rides Nawzikai on a mule-drawn cart. Loyal servants follow her, the tired and pensive king of Ithaki closes the procession. Everything in the picture speaks of a certain decline, fatigue, sadness. Mules instead of horses, Navzikaya instead of a hero, maidservants instead of warriors, a deserted coast of the sea instead of enthusiastic crowds of citizens.

   The sky takes up two-thirds of the work. Intricate clouds take the form of Olympic gods and heroes. With irony, they observe what is happening.

   Despondent and subdued, Odysseus tired of wandering. Doomed he goes towards the next test. The princess alone is proud and solemn. She rules her mules like horses.

   The author selects a deliberately pale colorful palette. Discoloring what is happening, depriving him of temperament and energy. The predominant white color peaks in the clouds. The blue color in the work emphasizes the lifelessness and decorativeness of the plot. The time of gods and heroes is over. The time has come for imitations and reconstructions."

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