Above this picture, the real name of which is just simply “Heroes”! - Vasnetsov worked especially long. This is understandable. It was important for the artist to depict three completely different types of Russian knights, and three so different characters needed carefully crafted, but also different weapons.
For example, in the hand of Muromets we see a mace, or a combat (on an iron or iron-bound handle) six-man, and of such sizes. - and, consequently, weight - that the slim Alyosha Popovich would hardly have kept, not to mention cleverly wielding them in battle.
Horse knights armed as standard: a sword, spear, shield, something for the "soul", by the nature of a warrior - or a club, or several darts, but according to the Vasnetsovsky "Bogatyrs" this set of weapons is distributed by the artist himself. Dobrynya and Popovich were deprived of their copies, but you still can’t make out Alesha’s back, either a shield or a second tula (protected quiver) with arrows. In the latter case, most of the folk jokes about this masterpiece of painting are fully justified. But that’s a masterpiece - to get a new life in folk art.
But Vasnetsov defeated critics (both modern and contemporary) in another matter - regarding the age of Dobrynya: the artist was reproached that he was not young. But everything is true in the picture: Dobrynya is not too young according to epics, and the real Dobrynya Nikitich from the annals staged a bloody coup in favor of the future Holy Prince Vladimir, and at all in more than mature age. Well and with amazing skill the horses created on the canvas are beautiful and correspond to the weapons and even the characters of the warriors.
But besides so different, “talking” to the spectators figures and faces of the heroes themselves, the landscape behind them plays a huge role in the picture. The hills overgrown with forest are detailed in the background, still Russian, judging by the Christmas trees, and grassy ones in the foreground. This is, apparently, the Wild Steppe, where the heroes carried their watch. But where Russian knights have set foot - there is native land too, take a look - young fir-tree shoots are already greening next to the hooves of horses.
There was even a version that the heroes are the embodiment of three different but fraternal peoples: Russian (Ilya), Ukrainian (Dobrynya) and Belarusian (Alyosha Popovich). But let us leave this version of Soviet art historians for more friendly times. Vasnetsov’s masterpiece is magnificent without the “nationalist,” as would now answer this assumption, context. Ostroukhov Ilya
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