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Cyclists and bathers

Do you prefer a nice bike ride or enter the lake?

The lively picture “Cyclists and bathers” (90x70 cm) by the artist Svyatoslav Ryabkin attracts because it is joyful, vital and colourful! It is a beautiful summer day in which men and women dedicate themselves to their favorite activities: ride a bike and cool off at the lake.

The canvas is divided in two parts. In the middle some girls sunbathe with their legs in the turquoise water while, at the top, some cyclists run along the grey road along the lake. Ryabkin describes these tired and dirty dust runners after riding all day. Look their bodies: they are painted with thin black lines that seem a single thing linked to their beloved bicycles!

When I showed "Cyclists and bathers" to a couple of lovers and Ryabkin's friends, they were really enthusiastic. She loves sunbathing and relaxes spending whole afternoons in the sun freeing her mind from thoughts. Look these girls: they wear the same blue costume. They are really great friends!

Instead, her boyfriend loves riding a bike. He has got a racing mountain bike that allows it to unload tensions and drive away worries. He loves running fast with the adrenaline rush to the stars and when he comes home feels regenerated. In fact, doing outdoor sport is really healthy! And he is a fan of the Giro d'Italia and every year he watches on tv this men's road race, born in 1909. At the time the winner had promised in prize 25,000 lire (Italian currency before the euro)!

I also like riding a bike and I am fascinated to know that it is a historical medium albeit topical. It was born as "velocipede " and in 1864 in Paris it was called "bicycle " and it had the front wheel larger and the first pedals. The wheels were made of iron-clad wood and only after a few years the spokes were added. People have always loved this mean of transport because it makes us feel free and reduces distances from walking. At the end of the ' 80 the first mountain bikes became increasingly popular and strong, accomplice to the birth of off-road cycling on stony slopes. And in 2011 in Italy, for the first time since the post-war period, the sale of bicycles surpassed that of cars. Tell us, dear Readers, what relationship do you have with your bicycle! I love it!

This picture represents a day of entertainment seen by the adults. However in particular the children are excited for a trip and you know, that as soon as they learn to ride bikes does not stop them any more! Listen to the hilarious "Mounts in mountain-bike" by Filippo Gasparre, winner of the 34th edition of the Golden Sequin! It was 1991.

"Cyclists and bathers" reminded me of other Ryabkin’s beautiful paintings on the same theme from the children’s point of view. For example, in “Hunting butterfly” there is a little girl who chases happy a beautiful butterfly and in “Girl and a skipping rope” a girl jumps with the rope. These pictures are in stylistic and chromatic harmony with "Cyclists and bathers" and I think they are complementary because they realize a broader concept: the joy of living at all ages. Write us what do you think about it and especially which of these three pictures do you like best!

Ryabkin is Ukrainian. He was born in Zhitomir in 1965. In his paintings he often deals with the Christian religion topic and uses clear symbols. In this picture there is a Russian church. It rises in the background to the right and its golden cross shines in the blue sky embellished by many white and undefined contours clouds. Ryabkin has used color-laden brushstrokes for the sky that occupies only a small part in the canvas. The symbol of the church reminds us of all we have is a divine gift: beautiful summer days and the power of the nature. The rows of trees and fields represent it. The artist has skilfully painted the green fields of grass and the yellow fields of grain with short strokes with the brush tip.

Another religious symbol is the water lilies. In the Christian Art they are often depicted on the facades and capitals of the churches because they means “charity” and “chastity”. In fact, they can to flourish in stagnant aquatic environments keeping white. In this canvas the water is blue only near the women who have moved it but most of the surface is dirty: pale green and yellow spots make this concept perfectly.

This picture conveys a great sense of wellbeing and responsibility to the environment because we all have a commitment to the world.

Do you know the young American environmentalist from Hawaii who is very close to the topic of pollution? It is Alison Teal. She has pedaled in protest on the sandy seabed of the Maldives to show how difficult it would be to move between those wonderful islands when the sea level will be climbed to the point by going under water. Its strenuous ride is therefore, a provocation to make known to everyone that this is a threat even for big cities like New York, Miami and London.

In 2015, the year of the realization of "Cyclists and bathers", a research about “Eastern Europe, the link between Orthodoxy and national identity is growing” was conducted in different countries. In Ukraine, after the end of the Soviet Union, the number of Orthodox Christians have risen much more than the Catholics one and the national pride has been more widespread among the former.

Dear Readers, do you have also noticed that women and men are identical to each other (the first are blonde with clear skin whereas the latter are skinny and dark)? They represent exclusively the activities losing their identity and oneness as individuals. It is original!

At the moment the picture "Cyclists and bathers" is exhibited at the elegant hairdresser man-woman and aesthetics salon “Lui e lei” in Mogliano Veneto (in Treviso, in Italy).

By Elena Sechet

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