Creations of V.M. His paintings served as illustrations for many fairy tales and epics well-known to Russian people. "Song of the Prophetic Oleg", written by the artist in watercolor at the very end of the XIX century to the ballad of the same name A.S. Pushkin is one of them. Along with some other illustrations for this work, it was created by the centenary of the poet's birth, for an academic publication.
Prophetic Oleg is known to us as the legendary and, perhaps, the most mysterious Russian prince. He was a glorious warrior and a brave conqueror, whose rule marked the beginning of the heyday of the Old Russian state. Oleg ruled the Slavic lands for a long time and wisely, pursuing a very far-sighted policy, for which he was nicknamed Prophetic. This nickname then migrated to the work of Pushkin.
In the picture, Prince Oleg is depicted with his army standing on the edge of a dense forest. The prince is dressed in chain mail, over which a crimson cloak is thrown with a golden brooch that symbolizes princely dignity. Gray hair is visible under the helmet - Oleg is no longer young, but he keeps himself proud and straight in the saddle. His strong white horse stands quietly, arched neck. Behind the prince, a faithful squad - brave warriors of different ages, in the same chain mail and shishak as their leader. The mighty army was stopped by a sorcerer who suddenly came out of the forest, who with terrible sight informs Oleg the will of the pagan god Perun. The priest is dressed in a simple long shirt and bast shoes, in his hand is a staff.
The raised left hand with a pointing gesture is a kind of symbol of power, which extends to battle-hardened warriors. It is evident that the gray-haired old man is not afraid of the prince and his squad. His whole appearance suggests that the magician tells the soldiers something terrible and unexpected. The Kiev prince listens to him carefully and intently, his eyebrows are severely moved. Probably the prediction is not to his liking.
The gloomy forest behind the magician only adds strength to his words. A bright distance behind Oleg’s troops contrasts with this forest. What does the pagan priest tell Oleg? The further direction of the movement, or perhaps he reveals to the great warrior and ruler of the Russian land that he will soon have to accept a tragic death from his beloved horse?