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Repin - Chernava coming down The artist uses several...

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Repin’s use of space and composition is very interesting. In the center of the painting, we see highlighted brides, who are dressed in the costumes of all times and nations. All girls look at Sadko, but the one in the coral-orange dress particularly stands out as we can see her face more clearly than the faces of others. She looks at Sadko, and we, following her glance, finally notice him standing to the right in much darker surroundings of water and algae, wearing his own traditional merchant coat and hat. In his hands, he holds his gusli with no strings, since earlier Sadko broke the strings, following St. Nicholas’ advice, to stop the Sea Tsar from dancing and disturbing the sea. We notice now that Sadko does not gaze at the beautiful girls passing him by; rather, he looks up on the dark wall of the sea palace where we see the last bride,
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Unformatted text preview: Chernava, coming down. The artist uses several diagonal lines to signify this triangle, with Chernava and the diagonal wall line at the one side of it, the line of descending brides – at the other side of the triangle, Sadko as its peak, and the highlighted girls at the center. Sometimes, while looking at the painting, we have to remind ourselves that the action takes place on the bottom of the sea, and to emphasize this fact, Repin paints a few fishes, some air bubbles, floating algae, and floating hair and tail of the mermaid in the foreground. The dimness of the canvas not only signifies the fact that we are looking at the scene under water, but also imparts a dreamy quality to the painting, suggesting, perhaps, that Sadko only dreamt about the underwater kingdom and woke up on the bank of the Chernava river....
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