Museums and Art

“The Cossack’s fight with the tiger”, Alexander Osipovich Orlovsky - description of the painting

“The Cossack’s fight with the tiger”, Alexander Osipovich Orlovsky - description of the painting

Cossack fight with a tiger - Alexander Osipovich Orlovsky. Canvas, oil.

In contrast to the author’s static paintings depicting various horsemen, this canvas depicts a very dynamic scene. This is a clash of man and nature in the face of a tiger attacking a rider.

The intense atmosphere is emphasized by dark colors, a stormy sky, covered with gloomy, lead-gray and bluish clouds, a rocky landscape with sharp, spruce trees sticking out into the sky.

In the center of the picture is a horseman - this is a Cossack in a bright red shirt and black pants with stripes. He sits astride a frightened rearing horse. A large Siberian tiger attacks a man and a horse. The animal is captured in a jump, with spread legs, with which it has already managed to cling to the croup and neck of the horse. Another second, and the foamed horse will be on the ground, and this is certain death for her and for the rider himself. In an attempt to cope with a fierce tiger, the Cossack fiercely waved his ax. Just one more moment, and the outcome of the fight will be decided. But he will forever remain unknown to viewers. If the Cossack manages to hit the animal, it will be killed, and the rider and his horse will survive. But it is worth to miss, like a man, and a horse will turn into a treat for a hungry beast.

This picture is distinguished not only by the dynamics of the image, but also by a too dark color scheme. This was done by the artist on purpose to increase anxiety and increase tension. He succeeded in this fully, because portraying heroes in such an unusual perspective is a difficult task for the painter.

Impeccable composition and rich but dark colors are emphasized by the use of bright color spots in the center of the canvas. This is a red Cossack shirt and a fiery orange striped tiger skin. It is simply impossible to take our eyes off these color accents. For the artist, this is a definite success.

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