Olga's Gallery

Victor Vasnetsov

Princess Olga.

1885-96. Sketch for a fresco in the Cathedral of St. Vladimir in Kiev. Watercolor, gouache and lead pencil on paper. The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia. Read Note.

Victor Vasnetsov. Princess Olga.

Princess Olga ( ?- 969), the Grandt Duchess of Kiev (945-969), she was the wife of Grand Duke Igor, son of Ruric. Igor was killed by a group of rebelling subjects, when his son Svyatoslav was small, and strong-minded Olga began to rule by herself. First she avenged her husband’s killers: she came to their town with troops but did not attack the town, just asked the citizens to pay her tribute: a dove and a sparrow from every house. The happy residents hurried to bring her the demanded tribute. After that Olga’s soldiers tied hemp to birds’ feet and set it on fire. The birds returned to their homes in the eaves and set the town on fire. Olga consolidated the state, subordinated Novgorod. When her son could rule the state himself she went to Constantinople, where she was baptized, her godfather was the Byzantine Emperor. Olga tried to persuade her son Svyatoslav to accept Christianity, but in vain. She succeeded at last with her grandson Vladimir, who adapted Christianity in 988 A.D