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Baba Yaga is a literary character in almost all Russian fairy tales, where she is assigned the role of a terrible villain kidnapping children. But for some reason, among artists, the theme of fairy tales did not take root, since until the end of the 19th century, painters prefer to depict something realistic or classical, but not fairy tales. The only exceptions are the works of V. Vasnetsov, who already at the dawn of the new century embodies his long-standing dream, to tell the world about the beauty of a Russian fairy tale, which since his childhood has been exciting and fascinating. Therefore, in 1917, the famous painting “Baba Yaga” was born
The plot of the picture is quite simple, but nonetheless interesting. Among the raging and howling trees under the gusts of wind, she flies - Baba Yaga, pushing her broom ahead to wipe everything good and bright from the face of the earth, leaving only evil. Vasnetsov portrayed Baba Yaga as a bony old woman with white, flowing hair in all directions, dressed in a red skirt. As it should be, the old witch carries her to her lair in the lair of a little boy, who only seemed to have pulled out of bed. She is not afraid of anyone, her expression is solemn and malicious, her mouth is ajar, showing the viewer the abomination of sharp teeth.
The artist was able to depict her so strongly that sometimes it seems as if she is ready to leave the picture, directly to her viewer.
The character of Baba Yaga is in the very center of the canvas, but in the distance, if you look closely, you can see the glow of a fire, and on the right side there is an eagle owl, a companion of the night, the bird itself is gloomy.
In general, the whole plot is so sad and tragic that the question sometimes arises as to how a cheerful artist like Vasnetsov could write such a tragic work. Researchers of his work connect this picture with the October Revolution, which, like Baba Yaga, suddenly burst in, lit a fire and stole thousands of lives. This is confirmed by the red color of the character's skirt, since red, as you know, was the central theme and symbol of power among the Bolsheviks.
Maybe this is so, but the artist himself did not leave any notes on this subject. And the picture became one of the best in his creative life.
Painting by Petrov Vodkin