08 December 2010

Boys of Winter: Ivan Yakovlevich Bilibin and Carl Larsson



Russian illustrator and stage designer Ivan Yakovlevich Bilibin (1876-1942) was inspired by Slavic folklore, Russian folk art and traditional Japanese prints. He visually interpreted classic Russian folk tales including an illustration of Ded Moroz or Father Frost. Originally the grandfatherly figure was a sinister sorcerer who turned adults into ice and kidnapped children, carrying them away in a large sack. He evolved into the Russian Santa Claus who brings presents in his sack for children, warming their spirits in the cold of winter. A young Bilibin was portrayed by Russian painter and stage designer Boris Mikhaylovich Kustodiev. Swedish painter and interior designer Carl Larsson (1853-1919) depicted a mid winter legend from Norse mythology, Midvinterblot. It is the story of King Domalde who's kingdom had suffered three years of famine and starvation. The first year the Swedes sacrificed oxen to the Norse gods, the second year men and the third year the king was killed. Domalde's blood was sprinkled as an offering to the gods to insure fruitfulness. Larsson who is shown in a self portrait considered the finished mural his finest work. The figure study is of the ill fated king.

4 comments:

  1. Hello,
    I am familiar with Larson's decorative interiors, great personal inspiration;but I have never seen his figurative studies. Frankly stunning colors. You brightened my day.
    Take care ,
    LG

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  2. Hi LG, Yes i was rather surprised too, apparently there was all sorts of controversy over Midvinterblot. Thanks again for your kind words about Fayal. Best, Kendra

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  3. Well, if the sensuality of the study indicates the final work, perhaps it is easy to understand.
    BTW made a recent post with you in mind, check it out when you have a moment.
    LG

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  4. LG, Oddly enough it had nothing to do with the nudity of the king, those Swedes. It had something to do with other design elements of the mural. KB

    ReplyDelete

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