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Vasnetsov, Viktor Mikhaylovich
Three Czarevnas of Underground Kingdom

1879
oil on canvas
152,7 х 165,2

The painting is based on the Russian fairy tale "Three kingdoms: copper, silver and gold kingdoms", with the three czarevnas epitomizing the wealth of the Urals subsurface resources. Vasnetsov changes the storyline of the fairy tale; he features in the picture figures that symbolize gold, precious stones and coal. The patterned clothes of the senior czarevnas seem to be woven with precious metals and studded with semi-precious stones; they sparkle and glisten, bathing the space around with fantastic light. The fragile figure of the junior czarevna emerges in mysterious outline against a backdrop of the dark rock. He face is glowing in the dark. Vasnetsov integrates in the picture the storylines of several Russian fairy tales, in which elder sisters are haughty and arrogant towards their younger sister. The youngest sister cannot boast of the beauty of her dress, but it is she who holds the secret of human happiness. It is not by chance that her kingdom is called "black gold": after all, it is coal that gives people warmth and light. The senior czarevnas only rule the greedy human souls, while the junior one epitomizes man's wise union with Nature

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