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Illustration of Ivan Yakovlevich Bilibin "The Black Horseman" to the tale "Vasilisa the Beautiful" was made in 1900.
Fairy-tale illustrations by I. Ya. Bilibin are characterized by pattern and decorativeness. The "Black Horseman", like other drawings by the author, is surrounded by an ornament: mythical birds are depicted on the sides, symbolic trees below, contours of the inner surface of a tree with fabulous animals at the top. The ornament surrounds an illustration of how carved platbands frame rural windows in old houses. A rhythmic pattern is also present on the horseman's cloak.
The illustration is filled with the atmosphere of Russian antiquity from a fairy tale. A mysterious and fabulous figure of a horseman, symbolizing night, emerges from a real image of nature.
Creating a picture, the artist first set the perspective and volume, drawing the images with thin black lines. Subsequently, the resulting contours were filled with watercolor paint. Thus, the details of the drawings did not merge, but remained clear and bright throughout the canvas.
Trees, fern bushes, raincoats and chain mail are worked out in sufficient detail. At the same time, only a few lines and only one color are used to draw a face. The emotional state of the hero is evidenced by the tilt and shape of the head, large, angry eyes, hunched back. Sharp facial features, a sharp paused gaze emphasize the horseman's hate. Aggression also comes from a deliberately bright and detailed traced open mouth of a horse with huge white teeth. In this case, a single eye and ears pressed testify to the fear experienced.
The orange circle of the setting sun, the yellow sky, twisted and broken trees, black images of mythical birds emphasize the anxiety of the plot. Traits of birds schematically repeat the rider's face, increasing tension.