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Vodka with bacon and bagels

Hooray the pic nic!

In Svyatoslav Ryabkin’s bright painting called “Vodka with bacon and bagles” a hungry teddy bear is doing a pic nic. It conveys festive thoughtlessness.


Its brown mantle occupies the center of the oil on canvas. It is tasting a bagel with bacon blissfully and it is drinking vodka. It does not want anything else.


The weather is pleasantly warm. In the background the light blue sky is overcasted by some yellow and lilac clouds and it is striped by artist’s brush handle tip. This irregular and a little bit daring trait is typical for the artist.


The soft colour turns to light green freshly cut grass on which the bear has stretched its plaid that frames it as a picture in the picture. Look at the green bottle made by glass in the foreground in the lower right. It strikes our attention for its squared lines that make the object realistic, proportionate in the measurements and in the right perspective. These stylistic choices are unusual for the artist.


The plaid, the russian churches and the moon are the bright focus of this picture. In the background the russian churches are stylized and shine for the golden crosses on the summit. Ryabkin is Ukrainian, he was born in Zhitomir in 1965 and loves depicting orthodox churches in his paintings in honor of his deep religious faith as in the picture “Goats too wish to fly” (2009) and “Sledding” (2010). A few trees here and there make the landscape less stark.


Pay attention to the moon in horizontal position in the daytime sky: its face is humanized. So curious...

My 6 and 9 years old grandchildren were excited when they saw this picture for the first time because "the teddy bear is really nice as a giant plush toy!", they told me. In Italy bears are plush toys par excellence, the favourite animals by children.


The moon is in a strange position: it is crooked as a hook, according to my granddaughter’s interpretation. It is exactly like the ones they have in their bedroom. It supports the plush toy that has got a wire like all puppets they won at the village festivals. Their reasoning does not make a fold. So, you understand that this image is realistic in the eyes of a child! Children are really cute! When we said goodbye they told me because they would have this picture in their bedroom. I was curious to know why... “Because delicate colours transmit serenity and we have laughed because we had never seen a bear with a vest before!”, they said.


Even a friend of mine and Ryabkin's loves teddy bears since she was a baby and in particular the sweet Winnie the Pooh, character born in 1926 from Milne’s english novel. It has been hugely successful with the cartoons by Walt Disney. Teddy bears are really sweet!


Dear Readers, do you know that June 18 is the pic nic world day? English people dedicate a whole week: meadows in the countryside and city parks are flooded with tablecloths and different tasty appetizers. It is really true that the simplest things in the nature are the most beautiful!


And also the music helps to create the right mood! Look the turntable in the foreground at the bottom left. The disc and the other black elements on the canvas give brio to the subject and harmonize all elements to each other. They are the vest, its huge nails of the paws and its eyes - which are closing in the process of a nap!


Also Ryabkin’s daughter loves bears but only on Ryabkin’s paintings or as plush toy because in Ukraine bears wandering in herds and induce terror, as he has explained on the occasion of the realization of another his beautiful painting called “Recollection about travelling to Russia 1” (2014) that is inspired by a true story. Discover it! A year later in 2015 he painted "Vodka with bacon and bagels".


In 2009 the funny cartoon “Masha and bear” became very popular. A curiosity? It is based on a traditional Russian story about a friendship between a little girl and a docile bear.


Do you remember the plush toy Teddy? In the mythical television series of '90s, broadcast in more than 200 countries, a teddy bear is Mr. Beans’s best friend, albeit felted, with two buttons instead of its eyes and without a piece of head in an episode!


Dear Readers, do you know that a Japanese artist has chosen a pic nic with animals as the subject of his picture? Susumu Fujimoto realized the painting “La panier à pique – nique” with animals and a girl around a tree trunk. His technical choices and the strong contrast of colours are very far from Svyatoslav Ryabkin’s style.


Now this painting is on permanent exhibition in the welcoming Per.Gola Osteria in Martellago, a little town near Venice in Italy. Go to this special restaurant that distinguishes itself for its delicious cuisine. Perfect, to try!


Finally, look all artist’s cathalogues to discover other his wonderful paintings that you can also download in PDF.

You are welcome if you want to subscribe to our Newsletter and become Ryabkin’s Friends to be always informed about his upcoming exhibitions in Italy that are an opportunity to meet lovers of beautiful things. I will be there! And you?!

By Elena Sechet