1885; watercolor; State Tretyakov Gallery.
A connoisseur of Russian folklore, a lover of dramatic fairy-tale stories, Viktor Mikhailovich Vasnetsov appears in a hypostasis that is not familiar to himself. A watercolor sketch called Spring-Red is not a separate work, but just a sketch for the artist’s costume for staging the opera by N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov the Snow Maiden.
The musical performance is based on the play by N. A. Ostrovsky with the same name. Perhaps the mythologically deep roots of this work attracted the attention of the famous painter, but in his approach to the work one can see the confidence of a knowledgeable master, a deep love of detail and the subject that is being revealed.
In watercolor - a woman in the color of years, quite young, but not quite a girl. Her full smooth body breathes vitality, her face is calm and beautiful, her hair is loose, a wreath of wildflowers rests on them, a light transparent veil falls on her back, also entwined with plants. Emphasizes the triumph of flourishing nature, a wreath of flowers, which a woman raises high in her left hand.
Her outfit is symbolic: a white apron is thrown over a colorful bright skirt with elements of an ancient ornament. On it is an image of the starry sky, a fresh harrow and two men preparing an ox for sowing. On a blouse with a short sleeve, also white, there is a different embroidery: songbirds sat down at the bottom, announcing the arrival of spring, the time for laying the future harvest, fertile summer time began.
In the whole pose, in the details of clothes and jewelry, the confident goddess of flourishing meadows of the bright, fruitful half of the year is visible.