Saturday, September 5, 2015

Peter Pan flies to Russia

He must, or how else would there be so many beautifully illustrated Russian versions of his story? I've been lucky enough to acquire three of them, from 1971, 1993, and 2010, all showing a love of J.M. Barrie's original tale despite their variance in style.

I find the loose watercolor illustrations from this 1971 Piter Pan, by May Miturich, absolutely charming.

I don't read Cyrillic--I wish I did--but this rendition of the book characters almost makes me feel like I can. Nevertheless, my artist information on these books may well be incorrect. If any of you readers do read Cyrillic and have translations for me, I will gladly add that information to this post.

Never Neverland, as seen in the dreams of May Miturich.

A completely different interpretation, in a folk-influenced, ornamental style, was printed in 1993. The retelling is by Irina Tokmakova, with illustrations by painter Tikhonov.

The black and white illustrations are as lush and intricate as the double-page color plates.

I have a special fondness for this book with its lovely, respectful portrait of J.M. Barrie.

And editions of Peter Pan continue to be printed in Russia, such as this one from 2010 by artist Mikko.

While it doesn't entirely escape the Disney influence (I note also some possible undertones of Anne Graham Johnstone and even Mabel Lucie Attwell) and modern tendency to make Peter a bit more adolescent than he was originally written, the detail of the illustrations shows the artist's fondness for the story.

I was also very pleased to find this plate within. I'd found it online, and it's the header I use for my writing inspiration Tumblr blog (a Tumblr I keep private because unfortunately, it contains a huge number of unattributed images I don't have time to research). I'd never been able to find what book it was from, and it was delightful to find it here.

This seems like an appropriate time to ask if anyone knows where I could find a copy of Piter Pan illustrated by Maxim Mitrafanov. I've been looking for this for some time, to no avail.

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