Saturday 3 January 2009

Orinyansky's Руслан и Людмила

One of this blog's many passes at Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita looked at the gorgeous illustrations for a Russian edition done by one Pavel Orinyansky: his style for that book was a wondrous mix of Privat-Livemont, Erté , Klimt and Beardsley.

I've found that he has also illustrated another great Russian work: Alexander Pushkin's epic fairy tale in verse, Ruslan and Lyudmila (or Руслан и Людмила). The text of this is available online in English translation here or here, but I'd suggest your best bet is the recent Hesperus edition, translated admirably by Roger Clarke.

Orinyansky's edition seems not to have a cover image, just a cloth cover, so instead I'll bombard you with the interior artwork. The plot of the poem, to give you some context, concerns the trials and tribulations of the heroic Ruslan as he attempts to save his beloved beauty Lyudmila from the evil wizard Chernomor. For all of these, click for much bigger versions.

Orinyansky's artwork for this edition of the book pays deliberate homage to Ivan Bilibin, a famous Russian artist who did a lot of theatrical work as well as illustrating a large number of folk and fairy tales.

Here is one of Bilibin's illustrations for Ruslan and Lyudmila...

..and here are a couple of his illustrations for another fantastic Pushkin story, The Golden Cockerel.

And, just for the hell of it, one of his illustrations for Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid.


Casey said...

Ah, the things we learn when it is oh so too late. I have a copy of The Master and Margarita I got back in high school. The cover just has Beheamoth with a gun in his paw and a leer on his face. Nothing so beautiful as what you have here. Oh, well. I am enjoying your site so far and hope to see more beautiful artwork.

JRSM said...

Thank you, Casey. I also wish I had all the beautiful books I talk about here, but it's not always possible. Hope you find more you like!