Bilibin Ivan Yakovlevich is primarily known for his graphic illustrations to the Russian epic.
In the last years of his life, the artist worked on sketches for the collection of N. V. Vodovozov, “A Word on Capital Kyiv and Russian Knights”. This publication includes a beautiful illustration for the legend "Ilya Muromets and Svyatogor", painted by the artist in 1940. Currently, the original sketch is stored in the State Museum of St. Petersburg.
In the picture, Bilibin depicted the meeting of two famous Russian heroes Svyatogor and Ilya Muromets. Having starved, Svyatogor fell asleep riding his good horse. In one hand he holds a bridle in another wonderful casket, which he with great difficulty was able to lift. It is said that the casket was so heavy that he drove Svyatogor knee-deep in the damp earth.
Ilya surrendered everything he saw - a miraculous miracle. The valiant horse seemed to the Russian hero a fierce beast. To speak with Svyatogor, Ilya had to climb a tree.
In the epic, it was described that Svyatogor was clearly larger and stronger than Ilya Muromets. It is said that the blow of Elijah was for Svyatogor equal to a fly bite. After the first unfriendly conversation between the two heroes, Ilya fit in his pocket with his horse Svyatogor, so the latter was great.
The artist emphasizes the striking superiority of one hero over another. Svyatogor is depicted as a giant riding his wonderful horse. Clouds of heaven hung on his shoulders. The image of Elijah corresponds to a strong, fearless person who courageously defends peace in his native land.
Illustration for the epic "Ilya Muromets and Svyatogor" is made in the classic "Bilibino" style. Clear graphics, fine detail and folk ornaments make the fabulous drawing truly a work of art.
Shishkin Forest In Spring