Description of the picture:
Sirin and Alkonost – Victor Mikhailovich Vasnetsov. 1896. Oil on canvas. 133×250
Sirin and Alkonost are two inseparable symbols, a pair of opposites. Woe and joy, misfortune and happiness, black and white … In Vasnetsov’s painting, these mythical virgins are like doubles, and, at the same time, are completely different. Sirin – the black messenger of sadness, longing for a lost paradise. Alkonost – a bright messenger of joy and pleasure. According to Slavic beliefs, both birds fly into the garden on the eve of Apple Savior. Sirin mourns the passing summer, Alkonost gives the fruits magical, healing properties.
Vasnetsov creates amazingly bright and colorful images of mythical birds of paradise. If Sirin had black plumage, an exhausted pale face, tear-filled eyes in black eye sockets, wings closing, then Alkonost had a light plumage, ruddy face, and wings spread. Sirin completes the old, Alkonost – begins the new. The branches on which the virgins are sitting grow from the same tree on the same level, but on opposite sides of the trunk. On the left, and this side among the Slavs has always been “bad,” but connected with the heart, the embodiment of sadness and wilting has settled down. On the right, on the good side, the embodiment of hope, joy and enjoyment.
The background for the picture was the morning orange sky. The sun shines on the light bird, and the dark one, on the contrary, takes refuge from the dawn. Sirin is all turned into the past, Alkonost is all in the future. Both virgins are one and indivisible – the eternal companions of life of each person, able to moderate too much joy, to alleviate overwhelming grief. Great harmony of life."