Mermaids - Kramskoy. 88 x 132
The painting "May Night" or "Mermaid" was painted under the influence of the eponymous story by Nikolai Gogol. But to say that the picture is an illustration of the Gogol story is impossible. Rather, the great classic was simply the inspiration of the painter. By the power of literary words, he created a magnificent description of the mysterious world with its sorcerers, mermaids and other mysterious evil spirits, now Kramskoy seized the baton, taking on the arsenal of the power of color, light and form.
The artist did not see his task as the creation of a certain fairy-tale, mythical world, but a description of the real world, which inconceivably reincarnates under the mysterious light of the moon. “Everything is currently trying to catch the moon ... The difficult thing is the moon,” wrote Kramskoy to Vasilyev in Yalta.
Judging by what the picture turned out, the painter still managed to "catch" the moon. The canvas depicts the riverbank, bathed in a mysterious light, on which young drowned girls, who turned into wondrous mermaids, sad and unhappy, sit in white robes, as if in shrouds. On the right you can see the light of the estate, in the distance you can see the forest.
Many sketches of the painting have been preserved, which prove how painstakingly the author worked on the details and form. Many adjustments were made at the stage of writing the canvas itself - Kramskoy was always dissatisfied with something. It is known that even a year later, as the painting was acquired by Tretyakov, the artist asked to return the painting in order to "slightly revise it."