At the Moscow World Youth Festival in 1957, Vasil’ev became interested in linocut and monotype. During the following years he created a series of linocuts, presumably including Beauty and the Beast. These works deviated in form and content from the doctrine of Socialist Realism. As a consequence, officials closed his exhibition of linocuts in 1962 after only one day. Vasil’ev’s art, however, wasn’t intended as a symbolic protest against the adversity of life, but rather sought to convey his interest in the world’s cultures.
The subject of Beauty and the Beast goes back to the ancient tale of Cupid and Psyche. The story begins with Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, who wants to punish the mortal girl Psyche for her beauty by making her fall in love with a vile creature. The encounter of the girl and the monster is the subject of Vasil’ev’s print. The story, however, has a happy ending–Venus’s son Cupid marries Psyche.
abstract; women; animals; cats
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