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The work of V. Vasnetsov is fairy tales, epics, myths, historical and folklore plots. Including frequent treatment of the artist to the ancient Slavic pagan themes. The famous painting “A Song of Joy and Sorrow”, completed in 1896, is no exception.
In the center of the picture is a tree with two half birds sitting on its branches - Alkonost and Sirin. The first bird promises paradise sometime in the future. The second sings that heaven has already been, and it has been lost. The image of them in the form of semi-half-humans is traditional. Vasnetsov made a deviation from the myth - according to legend, Alkonost and Sirin were bisexual. The artist has the heads of beautiful girls in crowns.
The Alkonost bird is looking forward to a future paradise. She has a smile on her face, multi-colored wings, depicted in bright colors. One legend says that the singing of this half-bird comforts the afflicted. Another legend says that her singing is so beautiful that he who hears will forget about everything. The artist managed to convey the mood of the bird - Alkonost does not feel herself when she sings.
Sirin is gripped by grief. If Alkonost opens, Syrin tilts his head down. The plumage is depicted in dark colors. The grief of the bird is further accentuated by bruises under the eyes. It is believed that the singing of the bird Sirin brings with it oblivion and death.
The contrast is enhanced in the background. Birds sit on different branches of the same tree. Next to the Syrin bird, the leaves turned black and faded; there were very few of them left.
Around Alkonost foliage blooms with magnificent color, as if rejoicing in life and the upcoming paradise.
The oil painting on canvas is included in the permanent exhibition of the State Tretyakov Gallery. This is one of the most famous creations of the artist. In 1899, the young symbolist poet Blok dedicated one of his poems to the painting.
Picture Shishkin Birch Grove