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Two sisters

Misunderstanding in the moonlight

In "Two sisters" (100x70 cm) by Svyatoslav Ryabkin two sisters turn their backs because they have argued; the Ukrainian artist thus describes this great picture. In the dark room, time seems to have stopped even if a clock in good view at the top left reminds us that it is late at night and that you have to wait for a clarification. Perhaps the two women are waiting for the moment of forgiveness.


Ryabkin asks the observers what caused this tension. I believe they are Russian and have argued about loneliness, poverty, illness or the inability to take care of their parents. In fact, these are the major concerns for women in these countries. Express your ideas!


And about the external aspect, they are beautiful, long-limbed and rich. They wear the same model of dress in different colours. The woman in red is blonde, while the woman in blue is black: a chromatic couple (for the colour of her hair) unique in Ryabkin's paintings. He often paintins women and her favourite woman is blonde. Often she is happy and carefree as in the picture "Dream"; other times he prefers black and in relaxation woman like in "Strawberries and cream". These very different sisters remind me of Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette in Curtis Hanson's "In her shoes" film (2005) in which they only share their shoes size! Apart from the carefree feminine comedy it is interesting to understand their growth towards new directions. To be seen!

Women from the former Soviet Union (Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Moldova) wear designer and expensive clothes, make-up with care (even to go shopping!) and always have impeccabe hands because they still believe that all this is necessary to find a rich man to have a family. Undoubtedly, women love to make a good impression in order to achieve greater consideration in the society. I think this was one of their secrets, as well as not to exceed with vodka, to live longer than men, on average up to 72 years.


Looking this picture a friend of mine, who has a conflictual relationship with her sister, told me that she felt a feeling of distance and resentment. According to her, the blonde woman's face expression is angry. Her shoulders are open and her back is straight. Instead, the dark-haired woman is sorry. She approaches towards the window as if she is looking for the air to breathe. And you, dear Readers, what do you think?

Furthermore, their hands are fixed on the table as if its surface was a certainty or a memory: the faded petals are melancholy. They want to stay where they are even if their looks are moving somewhere else, towards opposite directions, towards the future.



However, I think that the two most antagonistic sisters are Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, two Hollywood movie stars. Their hate on the set and in the private life is in the film "What ever happened to Baby Jane?" by Robert Aldrich (1962), one of the most disturbed psychological thriller in the cinema history. The gloomy Malibu beach is unforgettable and their cruelty and perfidy is still in the air.

The painting "Two sisters" captures our senses. It is lively for the primary colours used: blue (on the sky, a dress and light chairs), yellow (on the moon, hair and petals) and red (on the second dress). The moon, in the upper right corner of the canvas, is a recurrent topic in Ryabkin's paintings but here it is melancholy. It seems to be pressed because it is too big and the yellow circular brushstrokes around it invade the canvas, dirting the whole sky.

However, let us also remember the other category of sisters: those who in spite of character differences are friendly, supportive of each other and capable of carrying out important projects together. This is the case of Liron, Tagel and Tair Haim, Israeli sisters of Yemeni origins, who founded a successful band all over the world. Their most famous song: A-wa, video Habib Albi, has reached 4 million views in a short time. The genre is a mix of Arabic folk, pop and electronic. This musicality meets the tastes of everyone. And lyrics deals with lost love and we know that women have a lot to tell about this topic!


"Two sisters" was painted in 2013, the year in which Ryabkin exhibited for the first time in Italy (in Spinea, in Venice) at the Villa Simion Gallery. If you want to see it live it is currently at the "Salone Lui e Lei" in Mogliano Veneto (in Treviso, in Italy), an important man-woman and beauty salon in a comfortable and luxurious environment. Where Art meets the style!

By Elena Sechet