The painting by Viktor Mikhailovich Vasnetsov Bogatyrs is rightfully considered to be a real national masterpiece and a symbol of Russian art. A picture was created in the second half of the 19th century, when the theme of folk culture and Russian folklore was very popular among Russian artists. For many artists, this hobby turned out to be short-lived, but Vasnetsov’s folk folk theme became the basis of all his work.
The picture Bogatyrs depicts three Russian heroes: Ilya Muromets, Dobrynya Nikitich and Alyosha Popovich - the famous heroes of folk epics.
The gigantic figures of the heroes and their horses, located in the foreground of the picture, symbolize the strength and power of the Russian people. The impressive size of the painting is also contributing to this impression - 295x446 cm.
The artist worked on the creation of this picture for almost 30 years. In 1871, the first draft of the plot in pencil was created, and since then the artist has taken a great interest in the idea of creating this picture. In 1876, the famous sketch was made with the already found basis of the compositional solution. Work on the painting itself lasted from 1881 to 1898. The finished painting was bought by P. Tretyakov, and still it adorns the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.
In the center of the picture is Ilya Muromets, a national favorite, a hero of Russian epics. Not everyone knows that Ilya Muromets is not a fairy-tale character, but a real historical person. The story of his life and feats of arms are real events. Subsequently, having completed his work on protecting the homeland, he became a monk of the Kiev Pechersky Monastery. He was canonized. Vasnetsov knew these facts, creating the image of Ilya Muromets. Mater man Ilya Muromets - says bylina. And in the picture of Vasnetsov we see a mighty warrior, and at the same time an ingenuous open man. It combines gigantic strength and generosity. And the horse under Ilya is a fierce beast - the legend continues. The powerful figure of the horse depicted in the picture with a massive metal chain instead of a harness testifies to this.
Dobrynya Nikitich according to folk traditions was a very educated and courageous person. Many miracles are associated with his personality, for example, the enchanted armor on his shoulders, the magic sword-treasurer. Dobrynya is depicted as in epics - majestic, with subtle, noble features that emphasize his culture, education, decisively pulling his sword from its scabbard with the readiness to rush into battle, defending his homeland.
Alyosha Popovich is young and slender in comparison with his comrades. He is depicted with a bow and arrow in his hands, but the harp attached to the saddle indicates that he is not only a fearless warrior, but also a harp, songwriter, and merry fellow. In the picture there are many such details that characterize the images of her characters.
Horse carts, clothes, ammunition are not fictitious. The artist saw such samples in museums and read their descriptions in historical literature. The artist masterfully conveys the state of nature, as if heralding the onset of danger. But the heroes represent a reliable and powerful force of the defenders of their native land.