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The Firebird ~ Ink, watercolour, and gouache, 150 mm square.

For the 2017 Month of Love challenge, ‘Light’.

Familial, material, and romantic love all play their parts in this Russian tale, in which Tsarevich Ivan, Tsar Andronovich’s youngest son, discovers the culprit who nightly steals the Tsar’s golden apples: the firebird.

Some more recent retellings have occasionally conflated this tale with that of Koschei the Deathless by casting him as the antogonist, and indeed this was the basis for Stravinsky’s ballet of 1910. Here, the firebird’s brilliant feather, which had torn away in Ivan’s grasp when he attempted to catch the bird, becomes the light which frees Koschei’s prisoners from enchantment and aids Ivan in Koschei’s destruction.