Animals in fine art often become a mirror of the human soul. Humankind is determined in relation to the animal world. In ancient times, the cult of animals prevailed in art. Despite their role weakened later, they still serve as the main sense-making background on which other themes appear. In her painting Elena Yukhnevich shows that animals are the most illustrative form of the spirit, which determines the place of a human being in the natural hierarchy.
In the foreground we can see a figure of a man in a white shirt and an ocher chiton. In his right hand he holds a shepherd crook. There is a white lamb on the man's shoulders, showing no signs of anxiety. The light blue sky is full of white cauliflower clouds. The painting conveys serenity, peacefulness of the man's job and careful interaction between the man and nature. The man is depicted in detail: symmetrical features of his beautiful face, lush wavy hair, piercing blue eyes. His gaze is adverted, and the thoughts seem to wander far away.
With the help of artistic images, the author decided to express her attitude to a global problem – the mass extinction of animals. She has always loved animals and been against the consumption growth at all levels. In 2019, she learned about the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) report. It says that about a million species of plants and animals are threatened with extinction. And it is not the climate change to blame, but hunting, poaching, destruction of natural habitat by humans.
Elena Yukhnevich believes that animals must not be the object of destruction, but our protection. This is because they cannot strike back, but nature can take revenge on us. White symbolizes innocence, that is why the animal is depicted in light color.
Through the artistic image, the artist appeals to the audience to treat animals with dignity, respect, and care, to realize that all beings are closely interrelated and that the extinction of animals can cause large-scale changes in the entire ecosystem.
Shepherd and lamb
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21/25/4 cm, oil painting on linden wood, decorated with gold leaf