Dobrynia Nikitich frees Zabava Putiatichna from Gorynych the Dragon

Illustration by Ivan Bilibin



This extraordinarily powerful and vibrant illustration by Ivan Bilibin depicts an episode from Byliny (Russian oral tradition)

wherein Dobrynia rescues Zabava, the niece to Prince Volodymir of Kiev, from Gorynych the Dragon.


The legendary character of Dobrynia Nikitch is similar to that of St George, in that Dobrynya is reputed to be a

dragonslayer and is a medieval Knight - in this case, from Kievan Rus. Traditionally, Dobrynya is representative of the

noble class of warriors - renowned for his special knowledge and courtesy - and is also a musician, chess player, archer and

wrestler. Some historians have identified that the mythical character may have been based upon the Slavic warlord

Dobrynya who led the armies of Svyatoslav the Great and tutored his son, Vladimir the Fair Sun.


In the legend depicted by Bilibin, Zabava Putiatichna has been abducted by Gorynych the Dragon. Having been dispatched

by Prince Volodymir to rescue Zabava, Dobrynia travels to the Saracen Mountains and engages the Dragon with the aid of

a magic whip that he had received from his mother. An epic battle followed, with the Dobrynia fighting the Dragon for

three days before Gorynych was killed. Even after the Dragon's death, however, the rescue was not completed for a

further three days due to the supernatural effect that the Dragon's blood had on the ground - it failed to seep away and

Dobrynia and his horse were stuck in the blood for three days before Heavenly inspiration called for Dobrynia to perform

a ritual and incantation. Thereupon, the Dragon's blood was swallowed and Dobrynia rescued Zabava and returned her to

Kiev where she marries Dobrynia's fellow bogotyr, Alyosha Popovich.



Full Image

Single Greeting Card (with matching Envelope)

Price: US$5.00

Detail (for reference)

Reproduction on 12x18" sheet

Code: IB DNZPGD C1 12x18
Price: US$60.00