Ilya Repin: Sadko in the Underwater Kingdom (1876)

(The Russian Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia)

A beautiful painting this time from the famous Russian painter Ilya Yefimovich Repin (1844-1930). Subject of the painting is an episode from a medieval Russian tale. Main character is Sadko, an adventurer and merchant from Novgorod. According to the tale, Sadko played the gusli on the shores of a lake. The Sea Tsar enjoyed his music, and offers to help him in making him a wealthy man. Sadko was instructed to make a bet with the local merchants from Novgorod in catching a certain fish. Aided by the Sea Tsar, Sadko wins the bet and becomes a wealthy man money earned from the bet. Sadko begins to trade on the seas with his new wealth but forgets to pay proper respect to the Sea Tsar. Sadko's ships are stopped in the sea by the Sea Tsar and Sadko and his crew try to appease the Sea Tsar with gold but to no avail. In the end Sadko is forced (voluntarily) into the Sea and ends up in the court of the Sea Tsar. There Sadko plays again the gusli and the Sea Tsar offers him a new bride. A long line of beautiful women passes by him (shown here in the painting) but Sakdo chooses the last maiden in the line. He lays down beside her and wakes up on the shore, rejoined by his wife. Painting from 1876.