The Virgin and Child - Victor Mikhailovich Vasnetsov. 1885 - 1893
Religious painting is very formal and is created according to the strictest canons, but Vasnetsov managed to introduce his personal vision into the classic image of the Virgin and Child Christ, without violating generally accepted rules. This painting of the ceiling of the cathedral is made on a saturated gold background, creating a spectacular volumetric radiance around the figures clearly read on it. The impression is that the images are not written on raw plaster, but are carved from stone, so relief and voluminous they seem from afar.
A special tragedy to the image of the mother and son is given by the saturated, dark and gloomy colors with which the robes of the Virgin Mary are made. The dark blue color of the tunic and head scarf against the background of gold seems almost black, as if predicting that this woman will have to mourn for her son's untimely lost. Baby Christ is shrouded in a clean white cloth, like a radiance, however, a black shadow fell upon him from the gloomy robes of his mother.
Noteworthy is the pose in which the Virgin is captured, although it corresponds to the canon of church painting. She stands slightly sideways to the audience, covering her child with her right hand, as if protecting him from the dangerous influence of the outside world. The Mother of God here is the same mother as all other earthly women - knowing about the divinity and destiny of her child, she tries to protect him from evil as much as she can.
With just a few touches Vasnetsov managed to give a flat image of volume and movement, which is emphasized by light lines of a rounded shape behind the figures and images of winged angels.
The baby Christ with a beautiful face of a child and completely adult eyes is depicted in a classic blessing pose. On the whole, the image leaves a feeling of inner drama and a great intensity of feelings. This is a very strong and expressive canvas.