The painting “The Abduction of Europe”, Serov – overview

The painting “The Abduction of Europe”, Serov – overview
The painting "The Abduction of Europe", Serov - overview - 1

  • Posted by Valentin Aleksandrovich Serov
  • Museum: Tretyakov Gallery
  • Year: 1910

Overview of the painting :

The abduction of Europe – Valentin Aleksandrovich Serov. 1910. Cardboard, tempera. 71×98

   Powerfully cutting through the dense sea, carries the bull to the beauty of Europe. Dolphins frolic, accompanying the heroes. The sky merges with the sea. Waves, like a royal ermine mantle, envelop the strong body of a bull. Calm, even indifferent Europe.

   The work is devoid of secondary details. The schematic nature of images is a tribute to the modernist tradition. Most carefully, the master creates the image of a bull, giving him some human features. Before us is the reincarnation of the Olympic god, who loved the beautiful daughter of the Phoenician king.

   The combination of brown, blue and black tones is a classic set of ancient Cretan frescoes. At the same time, work completely is devoid of ancient static and harmony of forms. Before us is a plot filled with energy, temperament.

   Far from ancient samples and the appearance of Europe. Before the viewer, not marble frozen beauty, but an ordinary young girl, a dark-skinned, ordinary physique, far from ancient harmony.

   The symbolic meaning of the plot takes on a special, modern sound in the eyes of the artist. Europe has abandoned long-term worship of antique patterns. How the voyage ends? Which shore the bull will pester? Questions remain open.

   The space of the picture is subject to a special rhythm. Dolphins give the composition dynamics, emphasizing the power and strength of the bull. The work horizon is open. Lazy glare on the waves, distorted, only indicated reflection of the heroes in the water surface, creates a sense of the power of the elements, its indomitability.

   Europe feels confident in the bull, it fully trusted him. The garland, the remains of which are hooked on the horn, does not look like decoration anymore. Heroes look back at the viewer, as if inviting him after him, into the unknown.

   Work has become one of the last in the life of the author. This is a kind of understanding of the whole creative path, difficult thoughts about the modern world, about its path to the future. Turning to an antique plot is no coincidence. The embodiment of the classical plot with new artistic means is the creative will of the master, an attempt to leave a message to the world.

   It is this work that is considered one of the most successful, recognizable works of the author, a model of the painting of modernism. To date, about ten different versions of this work are known. The author stubbornly searched for the optimal color scheme, experimented with space, and improved images. Each version is distinguished by its artistic sound, atmosphere and color.