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Carnival

Venice is colourful at Carnival!

Svyatoslav Ryabkin’s “Carnival” (80x40 cm) is a beautiful oil on canvas that celebrates the Venice Carnival. It was painted in 2019 after his visit to the lagoon city on the occasion of the art exhibition entitled “Dream and reality” at the Danieli hotel.


In February of each year a lot of masks populate Venice. They invade the streets called “calli” (the typical Venetian streets) and slow down residents’ walk. There are up to 40,000 people on the most important days of the program of events.


The painting “Carnival" is special by the light and bright colours. It looks like a still picture at sunset of a place illuminated by pink in San Marco Square. The people depicted are a little stunned by the rowdy day just finished and think of how many other fantastic parties to the rhythm of music await them in the sumptuous buildings along the Grand Canal behind them.


Dear Readers, look at Colombina's mask in the center of the canvas. She wears her pretty light blue dress and the coordinate mask; when the artist Ryabkin painted her, certainly thought of his daughter because she is graceful and delicate like her.


Tourists come from all over the world to attend the festival that most of all celebrates the female beauty and it is a good omen to participate in it. It is called “Festa delle Marie”. Twelve Venetian girls in Medieval and Renaissance clothes parade in San Marco Square and at the end the most beautiful receives the title of Mary of the year. This feast recalls the original feast of the year 973 in thanksgiving to Madonna for saving the twelve most beautiful and poorest girls from an attack by pirates. In this occasion they were richly jeweled and should have been married by the end of the year.


To the right of the canvas there is a man with a bauta, the mystery mask, typical of 18th century in Venice. The distinctive elements are the large black cloak (tabarro), a black tricorn on his head and a white mask on his face. Also it was worn by women and not only during the Carnival period (for example in theaters) and it guaranteed maximum freedom and security of anonymity, especially during amorous and adventurous encounters.


On the left of the canvas the funny Indian chief is dressed in an elegant tail-coat. He smiles amused! Maybe beacause he has smelled the intense scent of “frittelle” (sugar food like pancakes) in the air and he will buy one! An irresistible culinary delight!


Also among the people there is a child in short shorts in an unrealistic image because in Italy in February it is very cold! He wears the plague doctor's mask, a typical Venetian mask. Do you know, dear Readers, that the long nose contained a filter made up of salts and disinfectant aromatic herbs such as rosemary, garlic and juniper? The plague has hit the city of Venice on several occasions and it is remembered as one of the city's major plagues. Today this mask assumes superstitious meaning to keep infectious diseases away.


So, dear Readers, what is the mask among these do you like best? Write to us!


Below there are two cats with yellow masks that make you happy! The artist Ryabkin used the oil painting, after crayons that he used in a previous phase in his life. In the picture “Carnival” he wanted to make all the delicate nuances of crayons in this sparkling picture that is very trumpery for each element represented.


At the end of the Carnival there is a carpet of confetti and streamers that the artist has made with long brush strokes of full colour. A black mask is lost by someone and remain on the ground. Ryabkin has used the brush in reverse too to spread the colour abundantly with a spatula; the colour takes on a central value in "Carnival". This technique is one of its stylistic features and the final effect is of great dynamism which is useful in this painting.


This picture is at Salone Lui e lei, hairdresser for men and women and aestethics, in Mogliano Veneto (Treviso, Italy). And, if you like it, also look at the curious picture called “Aged Pinocchio” that portrays the now elderly Pinocchio puppet, another example of the artist's great ability to make the atmosphere and strong feelings with painting.


I invite you to browse the whole Catalog 2019 to see his other Venice themed paintings and also to download them in pdf. Sign up for our Newsletter to not miss his next art exhibitions in Italy!

By Elena Sechet