The Painting Marushkin “Strigunok”

About Oleg Pavlovich Marushkin (1938) could not find much information. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Leningrad (Petersburg), from which came out a lot of outstanding artists. He created sketches of the “Feast on the Neva” painting for the banquet hall of the Nevskaya Hotel in Leningrad.

Painting “Strigunok” – apparently, the most famous work of the artist. It shows a foal and a boy who gives him a treat. Their figures, written close-up, occupy the center of the canvas.

The word “strigunok” means both a teenager and a one-year-old foal, to whom a mane was cut. In the picture of Marushkin, the mane of a horse is really trimmed. The name of the painting, most likely, refers specifically to the colt.

The main background is the cloudless blue sky. The earth is a narrow strip with a few bushes of grasses. In the right corner of the picture at the horizon is a tiny silhouette of a running horse. It is painted in gray-gray paint and therefore seems ghostly.

The main characters of the picture, on the contrary, look almost tangible, close. Foal stands sideways to the viewer. His tan skin is covered with dark spots. He turned the muzzle to the boy. He sits on the ground with his back to the viewer, slightly turning to the muzzle of the colt. He is a teenage boy, maybe he is about twelve. One leg he tucked under himself, the sole of the foot is visible, the other leg is bent at the knee, the foot is on the ground. The artist carefully wrote out the bare foot of the boy, large hands – in one treat for the horse, another boy leans against the ground. The boy’s light-red hair is short-cut. Of clothes on it, only shabby pants.

He has thin, sharp shoulders, his shoulder blades are sticking out. The boy’s face is depicted in profile. There is nothing special about it, but its whole appearance...gives the impression of some touching insecurity. Perhaps in a fight with peers he can stand up for himself. It is evident that he is not pampered, like most village children – dressed lightly, although the heat does not feel in the picture, he sits on the ground, which is often not allowed to the children of the city, he takes care of the animal on his own. It is felt that he is trusting and open to the world – this is probably what the feeling of vulnerability and defenselessness that appears when looking at the picture.

And the foal to become a boy is just as touching, angular, a little awkward, with wide eyes. He trustingly reaches out to the boy’s hand, holding out to him several stalks-maybe a plant that a little horse especially loves-and a piece of bread.

Something they are similar, this young man and a young horse. And not only outward angularity, they are related by something more. After all, and the colt, just like a human child, gullingly looks at the world around him, he is also, in fact, defenseless, although he can run fast, although he has strong hoofs and teeth.

The world around the artist painted in bluish tones, why everything around seems a little unreal, ghostly, like a running horse in the distance. Not only the sky is blue – blades of grass are written in bluish tones, and a transparent bluish mist seems to spread over the earth. And the figures of the foal and the boy are written vividly and convincingly, they are real, in contrast to floating ghostness. This feeling is promoted by warm tones, contrasting with the cold background – the tawny fur of a foal, pink skin and red hair of a boy.

The bluish background of the painting creates a feeling of cold, ringing morning freshness. And the friendship of a boy and a horse, probably, should at least slightly warm them both.


The Painting Marushkin “Strigunok”