sábado, 4 de junio de 2016


I think I've got a pair of new favourite TSQ-IV illustrations, sharing place with Christian Birmingham's "At the Court": these rarities by Ekaterina Volzhina.
She recreates "The Snow Queen" in the Belle Époque: for instance, the titular character drives a horseless carriage (instead of a one-horse open sleigh).
But what I adore the most is her portrayal of my favourite characters in the tale and of their courtly surroundings:

Here we can see the clever prince and princess as portrayed by Volzhina.
She is a Brainy Brunette and he is equally dark-haired, as usual through the iconography of these characters.
His hair is long, while hers is short. And he dresses more sharply, while she dresses more modestly.
One of the reasons why I adore these two secondary characters (aside from their good looks, kindness, and intellectual level) is their deviance from gender roles: the princess is described first as "of unusual cleverness" ("uhyre klog", "umnitsa, chto i szkazaty nelyzya"); while the prince is described first as "dashing and charming" ("frejdig og nydelig", "svobodno i milo"), and then, when he is seen in person, as "young and handsome" ("ung og smuk", "molod i krasnv"). And, since her version is set in the Belle Époque, Volzhina has made her princess a FLAPPER (with a bob of nutbrown Boyish Short Hair, a modest white gown, and the typical flapper hair dec) and her prince a DANDY (in a rose-red coat and bow ascot, with long flowing auburn tresses upon his shoulders)!!!! I FRICKING ADOOOORE THIIIS!!! <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 
Note also that they are in the typical arrangement of a married or bridal couple (she's on the left and he's on the right), hinting at their relationship and also that they are wearing the colours of their lily beds: she is wearing white (for purity) and he is wearing rose-red (the word used in Russian to translate both "röd", red/scarlet, and "smuk", handsome, happens to be the same colour adjective, "krasny")!!!
The six-petal flower motif in the frame is also the flower in the bedchamber stainglass windows, which ties in to the bedchamber picture pretty nicely... <3 <3 <3 <3 and those cool colours suggesting intelligence, distance, and tranquillity, with that starry night-sky background... <3 <3 <3 <3
The initial Cyrillic P is also a palace archway with the same cool colours,nsix-petal flower, mirrored leaves, and night sky motifs, which is yet another adorable detail that ties in to the bedchamber scene... <3 <3 <3 <3 

The lily-shaped beds in the bedchamber. Notice also the princess's flapper bob contrasting with the prince's long dandy locks, as well as the lanterns hanging above them and the floral motifs (same flowers as in the frame, same symmetric leaves as on the P) on the stainglass window... I simply lack words to describe these wonderful pictures!!! This one in particular features soothing cool colours to suggest the midnight athmosphere: even the lanterns and the prince's lily bed, supposed to be rose-red, appear a mauve shade in the moonlight!!! <3 <3 <3 <3 <3


As a plus, here are Manuela Adreani's TSQ-IV illustrations and my commentary on them:

In this illustration, her face is not shown, but the clever princess is once more a Brainy Brunette as usual, while her daring suitor is golden-haired.
Neither one's faces are seen, which lends the scene an air of intimity and obscurity (she is seen from behind, half her hair hidden behind the curtain, while he boldly and deftly peers in as he opens the door). Likewise, the curtain is a device reminiscent of baroque art and its conception of the world as a stage.
Her attire is mostly white (with a steel-blue flower pattern) as usual, while he wears green. Notice that his golden hair, and her pearly throne and red shoes, are the only contrasting notes of warm colour aside from their skin.
The picture, in which serene and detached cool colours dominate, features a lot of patterns in the throne room: flowers on her gown, hearts on the curtain (a reference to the border of hearts on her proclamation?), geometric motifs on the floor, and Art Nouveau floral motifs on the wall. Through the plain, unpatterned door enters the youth in a plain green suit: he is entering the heart of her realm, the man of the world ready to win the fated test-interview with destiny and win his sheltered bride.

Ghostly dreams of armed lancers on gargoyle-like steeds cast their sinister shadows on the hallway pavement and walls. Here, cool colours have given way to warmer shades, but patterns are still a leitmotif in the castle of this Fourth Story: chartreuse geometrical patterns and four-petal flowers deck the sky-blue floor, while golden baroque/Louis XIV motifs gild the glittering walls.

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