Here it is worth telling immediately about two personalities. First, about the mythical character Svyatogra, and then about the author of this painting Ryabushkin.
As for Svyatogor, this purely epic Russian character was outside the Slavic epics. The strongest of the warriors and the highest. He is a giant athlete and keeper of the Russian land from enemies. It was he who gave his strength strong to another famous hero Ilya Muromets. So to say, he handed over his post to him, and he began to keep the Russian land, as he did.
On the canvas, the artist did not draw a giant, but simply depicted at close range the face of the horse and the Saint himself on it. And it seems that the giant is traveling on the ground, bypassing mountains, boulders. Birds fly by, animals run by and nobody even tries to contradict Svyatogor.
And this canvas was depicted by Andrei Ryabushkin. Fate so ordered that gave him only forty-two years of life. But over the years, he managed to create such canvases that we have known since childhood. Yes, yes, his paintings are decorated with textbooks on the history of Russia. Because he depicted historical subjects.
Quite often, at the end of the century before last, in various historical magazines in St. Petersburg, often the articles were accompanied by his illustrations, which were simply amazing and most accurately conveyed the spirit of a particular era. Where does such exact knowledge come from? At one time he drove through all the ancient Russian cities of Central Russia and painted details of everyday life, frescoes, landscapes. But at the very end of his life, he became interested in Russian mythology and took up the illustration of these myths. Here is the "Svyatogor" from the same collection.
A terrible disease killed the artist, but until the last days he was busy with his own business - drawing. The artist’s canvases are now stored in the Russian Museum and in the Tretyakov Gallery. So you can see his creations there, and not on the pages of textbooks.
Ivan Kramskoy Unknown