art history meme. 1/9 paintings
Sadko, Ilya Repin (1876).
Unlike most of Ilya Repin’s paintings, which focus on scenes from ancient or contemporary Russian history, Sadko illustrates a famous Russian epic. The story of Sadko involves a young Russian man named Sadko who becomes a wealthy merchant who eventually visits the underwater kingdom of the Sea Tsar on a trading trip. The Tsar offers him a bride, and he chooses a young woman named Chernava. He is warned that if he consummates his marriage with her, the two can never return to his home above the sea. He wisely heeds this advice, and they wake up on the banks of the river Chernava, which shares her name.
The nineteenth century was a time of rediscovery of the ancient Russian past; many painters, including Repin, spent years recreating scenes from Russian history and culture. This period of romanticism led to the development of a common literary trope, that of the loving peasant girl, represented here by Chernava. Although Sadko is presented with many beautiful women (dressed in several different styles to represent women from many nations) he chooses the peasant girl, Chernava, to signify his preference for his native Russia over other lands.
The treatment of light in the painting is absolutely stunning; if not for the starfish and sharks swimming about, it would be easy to forget that this scene takes place underwater. The women are lit from some hidden source, but Sadko himself is relatively dark, painted off to the side in the shadows. His face is one of wonder, exposed to the exotic underwater kingdom, not unlike a young Russian visiting Europe for the first time. (x)
"Golden Tears" by Gustave Klimt
A Grey Horse, 1641, Sir Anthony van Dyck
Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers over the Pacific during 1943
Ducati Team 2O14
At the Masquerade (Detail), Charles Hermans. n.d.
I admit that hyenas are a bit unusual. Female hyenas, rather than males, rule the clan. Each female also sports a pseudopenis, a seven-inch-long, fully-erectile clitoris that mimics a male hyena’s genitals with an accuracy that can stump even a seasoned biologist trying to tell the sexes apart. It’s no wonder that people have long thought hyenas were hermaphrodites; watching a hyena with a huge erection lie down and nurse cubs is a pretty confusing sight. (read the whole article at the link)
Photos and article by Kate Yoshida (via Hyena surprises: Pseudopenis, social IQ, intelligence, female dominance.)