I think you are wrong to want a heart. It makes most people unhappy. If you only knew it, you are in luck not to have a heart. — L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
A ball of arctic fox.
If you take myth and folklore, and these things that speak in symbols, they can be interpreted in so many ways that although the actual image is clear enough, the interpretation is infinitely blurred, a sort of enormous rainbow of every possible colour you could imagine. —
Mama fox love.
Some parents fear that their children may get carried away by their fantasies; that when exposed to fairy tales, they will come to believe in magic. But every child believes in magic, and he stops doing so when he grows up (with the exception of those who have been too disappointed in reality to be able to trust its rewards). —
Koschei the Deathless from Marya Morevna 1900
Ivan Bilibin was born in a suburb of St. Petersburg. He studied in 1898 at Anton Ažbe Art School in Munich, then under Ilya Repin in St. Peterburg. In 1902-1904 Bilibin travelled in the Russian North, where he became fascinated with old wooden architecture and Russian folklore. He published his findings in the monograph Folk Arts of the Russian North in 1904. Another influence on his art wastraditional Japanese prints.
Bilibin gained renown in 1899, when he released his illustrations of Russian fairy tales. During the Russian Revolution of 1905, he drew revolutionary cartoons. He was the designer for the 1909 première production of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel. The October Revolution, however, proved alien to him. After brief stints in Cairo and Alexandria, he settled in Paris in 1925. There he took to decorating private mansions and Orthodox churches. He still longed for his homeland and, after decorating the Soviet Embassy in 1936, he returned to Soviet Russia. He delivered lectures in the Soviet Academy of Arts until 1941. Bilibin died during the Siege of Leningrad.
Ivan Tsarevich catching the Firebird’s feather 1899
From “The Fisherman and his Soul”
With her red hair falling around her, she stood at the opening of the cave, and in her hand she had a spray of wild hemlock that was blossoming.
‘What d’ye lack? What d’ye lack?’ she cried, as he came panting up the steep, and bent down before her. ‘Fish for thy net, when the wind is foul? I have a little reed-pipe, and when I blow on it the mullet come sailing into the bay. But it has a price, pretty boy, it has a price. What d’ye lack? What d’ye lack? A storm to wreck the ships, and wash the chests of rich treasure ashore? I have more storms than the wind has, for I serve one who is stronger than the wind, and with a sieve and a pail of water I can send the great galleys to the bottom of the sea. But I have a price, pretty boy, I have a price. What d’ye lack? What d’ye lack? I know a flower that grows in the valley, none knows it but I. It has purple leaves, and a star in its heart, and its juice is as white as milk. Shouldst thou touch with this flower the hard lips of the Queen, she would follow thee all over the world. Out of the bed of the King she would rise, and over the whole world she would follow thee. And it has a price, pretty boy, it has a price. What d’ye lack? What d’ye lack? I can pound a toad in a mortar, and make broth of it, and stir the broth with a dead man’s hand. Sprinkle it on thine enemy while he sleeps, and he will turn into a black viper, and his own mother will slay him. With a wheel I can draw the Moon from heaven, and in a crystal I can show thee Death. What d’ye lack? What d’ye lack? Tell me thy desire, and I will give it thee, and thou shalt pay me a price, pretty boy, thou shalt pay me a price.’
Story by Oscar Wilde. Illustration by Jessie M. King
(Source: toetagjanedoe, via madamescherzo)