Today’s selection is ‘New Fairy Tale’ by Russian painter Nikolay Bogdanov-Belsky. I love the sight of this group of children huddled together, listening to a new story as their imaginations take them beyond their humble living quarters. I'm most intrigued by the expression of the two kids at the left; they appear mesmerized, absorbing the tale like travelers patiently awaiting their destination. I find myself identifying with those two pairs of eyes, for as adults we experience periods of transition during which our lives undergo drastic changes—both personal and professional—and while we never quite know where we’re headed, sometimes change works in our favor, offering new insights and opportunities.
And, in the case that one were planning their own life-changing event, sometimes, for reasons beyond their control, it never comes to fruition—just another fairy tale, conjured up to occupy their thoughts, effectively distracting them from their present situation. For some it’s a way of coping, I guess.
In a nutshell, that’s how this piece resonated with me.
As for the work itself, Bogdanov-Belsky supplies a vivid rendering of the scene. My favorite details include the cat nested on the stack of books, the modest bed in the background, and the lamb peering in at the doorway, as if it were listening to the little boy read aloud. This room is messy, with books and straw scattered throughout the floor, but I guess that’s to be expect when livestock is allowed to trot and make themselves at home. It’s just a different way of living—a huge contrast to the ultra-sanitized environments we require for children now.
On a final note, the blanket hanging in the background, as well as the scarf worn by the girl, feature a design which is unfamiliar to me, though I’m sure someone more studied in Russian history could identify it.
Detail shots behind the cut.
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