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Alyonushka. 1881
173 х 120 Oil on canvas Tretyakov Gallery, Hall 26

Not targeting a specific theme or event, Vasnetsov managed to portray in his picture the soul of Russian fairy tale, akin to quiet Mid-Russian nature. The image of Alyonushka, painted with a peasant girl as the model, conveys the suffering of a meek, lonely orphan, abandoned by everybody, who is present in many a tale. She spends an eternity sitting on a white stone, as if turned into stone with suffering, her eyes a mirror of unspoken despair. The girl's eyes pull you in like a whirlpool. The deep dark water, with a shimmering transparent reflection, is pulling at Alyonushka like a magnet. The girl's figure seems to have been put together using naturally occurring shapes, dying evening colours and foliage patterns, to project a distilled inward-turned sadness of autumn nature, which takes care to conceal and safeguard the heroine. Nature consoles her like a mother consoles her baby. Landscape motifs are suggested by poetical folklore images, for example the swallows that are gathered on a twig above Alyonushka's head as good message bringers, while the fluttering aspens are a symbol of bad luck

Additional info
Mythological painting
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