After sifting through a book on Edmund Dulacís fairytale illustrations nearly two years ago, I came across his beautiful rendition of the Russian folk tale ĎIvan and the Chestnut Horseí. Dulacís image, rendered in a style strongly reminiscent of Russian iconography, depicts the climactic moment when Ivan prompts his steed to fly to the extremity of Helena the Fairís tower and the couple share a kiss [link]
I am naturally drawn to historical romances, so it was no doubt that Ivan and the Chestnut Horse would catch my immediate interest. The story recognizes several interwoven themes of love, loyalty, responsibility and above all, intuition. You have a son struggling to fulfill the dying wishes of his father, a demeaning set of arrogant brothers and a princess who wills her own captivity so that she might become the prize to a bridegroom who accepts the challenge of liberating her.
I sought to combine all these narrative elements into a single illustration that made exclusive use of negative shapes. I turned to optical illusion as an ideal form of visual communication. By juxtaposing the royal couple with the silhouette of a horse in profile, I learned the importance of balancing value and creating colour associations. Plenty of my research was devoted to accurately representing the elaborate clothing from the age of Russian Imperialism. I sense that the greater part of my work in the future will deal with the history and folklore of world cultures. In recent years Iíve enjoyed studying the histories of various countries, notably Italy, England, Poland and Russia.
Two part reading of 'Ivan and the Chestnut Horse':[link][link]