A man dances with a snowstorm
a thrilling vortex
In Svyatoslav Ryabkin’s picture “A man dances with a snowstorm” (70x80 cm) a man is invited to dance by the snow queen during a snowstorm.
His head turns and he has just lost one boot. He is far away from his home that is at the top right in the canvas. The snow queen wears a white dress and she has got long blond hair. These are typical features of most of the women depicted by the artist.
Where are we? The landscape is confused. The snow falls copiously around the two protagonists. Dense white patches spread out in a circular and irregular way, now thicker now only as touches of colour.
Snow blurs the view like when you are in a storm. I know very well the unique feeling of not seeing beyond my nose and the moisture of water droplets on the skin of my face. You can heard only the sound of the wind and one's footsteps, nothing else. Silence keeps company. On the deep snow the steps are uncertain and heavy due to the risk of sinking half a meter! Surely my and Ryabkin’s dear friend knows what I'm talking about and if he likes (as all of you dear readers) can share his experiences on the snow with us!
In this picture the icy wind seems to have thrown away the man's house which is in an oblique position! In the lower part of the canvas there are fir trees with frozen branches and a white rabbit from the back that seems to observe the scene sheltered by its lair.
In 2015 in New York and Boston there was the worst snowstorm with flooding and icy wind in history.
However no one more than me suffers for extreme climates! Cold for long periods of time and the excessive humid heat, typical of Po Valley area (in Italy), make me a different person: intent on enduring these climates and temperature changes (so unhealthy), I get distracted from my daily activities. So, in winter my solution is dancing to warm up and feel better immediately, just like the man in "A man dances with a snowstorm"! And when is it too hot? Conditioned air I love you!
Ryabkin was born in Zhitomir in 1965 and often he has preferred winter locations to represent his country: Ukraine. You can find this beautiful painting in the catalog 2017 (on page 17) and it can be downloaded in pdf too. In the same catalog there is “Girl and two doggys” (2015, on page 25), another Ryabkin’s painting in which a little girl plays with her two dogs in a winter and snowy landscape. The artist has represented delicately this moment of play into a quiet and family atmosphere. Also I remember the picture “Sledding” (2010) for the festivity of a ski slope.
And now let's go back to the time line almost two centuries ago. Do you remember the picture “Snow storm” (1842) by Wiliam Turner? This painting is inserted in a different geographical context and artistic current but both artists represented the force of the nature with the same subject: a storm (but Turner at sea). The focus gives us a sense of abstract dynamism. The contours of the elements are blurred and blend with the elements of the nature. Water, snow and wind mix strongly in an indefinite space in which colours suggest dimensions.
Colour plays an essential role in both of these oils on canvas. As Turner, also Ryabkin has introduced bright yellow and red flashes that warm and are shades of positivity in a blue, violet and black background, the colours of drama and disillusionment for Turner. In both pictures white spots create the vortex and contrast with the darker areas. Both artists have drawn the colour with rapid brushstrokes to render better the final effect.
"A man dances with a snowstorm" was painted in 2017 and is currently located at Per.Gola Osteria in Martellago (near Venice, in Italy).
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