Creating his painting, Mikhail Vrubel was inspired by the ancient Greek mythology in the story of Anatole France “The Holy Satyr” and her imagination was captured by the main character of this story.
In ancient Greece satyrs were considered forest gods of fertility, spending time in amusements and hunting, and composed the retinue of Dionysus.
Wild, passionate and unbridled. Nevertheless, Vrubel’s imagination created its own unique image of Hellenic creature, giving it traditionally Russian features of character and appearance.
Contemporaries of the brilliant painter saw in his Satire somewhat different essence and this famous painting of the Russian painter, belonging to the “Fairytale cycle” of creativity, was renamed “Pan”.
This character of ancient Greek mythology is similar to the description of Satire only remotely – small horns on the head, the lower part of the body covered with black hair and barely visible goat hooves, hidden in the grass.
His piercing blue, but kind and slightly sly eyes look at the viewer patronizingly and with a great deal of curiosity.
Uncombed curly beard, gray curls on his head, wrinkled kind face and knobby fingers do not cause a feeling that this is a terrible and all-powerful god from ancient Greek mythology, which can cause much harm to man.
Rather, it resembles a grandfather from the Russian folk tales, a landlord of nature, who lives in the woods more often, patronizes forest animals and birds and protects earthly riches.
To Pan’s awareness as a native Russian character pushes the landscape, against which Pan is depicted – a typically northern Russian landscape with a green plain, crooked shores, a river shiny with a moonlight and a small forest.
Over the forest, the moon rises and its light illuminates the far forest, the smooth surface of the lake, three thin trees behind Pan and himself. The character and nature around him are merged.
Even more noticeable is the energy connection between the fairy-tale character and the surrounding landscape, because the lower part of his body merges so much with the earth and looks like a tree stump.
It seems that Pan firmly rooted in it or as if it grows out of the ground. Evening nature, gloomy, mysterious, powerful and slightly eerie also conveys a special color of this mystical being, emphasizing its dark nature and its power, which it draws from the surrounding spaces.
This picture is considered one of the best works of Mikhail Vrubel. In the image of Pan, more reminiscent of Russian Leshny, the artist tried to catch the national features of a mythical creature and created his own, unique and colorful character.