Lilacs (Self Portrait)
Here Victor portrays himself with one of Russia's most treasured flowers, the lilac, painted with exuberant and lucious colors. This painting conveys a sense of the joy experienced after going through difficult times and then arriving at a place of beauty, ease, and freedom. In the lower right, we see that multicolored butterflies have been released from a dark drawer, and are now flying free, and visiting the beautiful lilac blossoms. Lilacs are a beloved Russian flower of springtime, and are a personal favorite of Victor's. Lilacs are associated with the mood of having survived the harsh Russian winter, and in the warmth of springtime, enjoying soft blossoms and sweet fragrance. Victor portrays himself on a tabletop on which he is enjoying the lilacs; we see from the ladder leading to the tabletop, that he has had a steep climb to arrive at this peaceful place.
In this self-portrait, Victor portrays himself as very small in comparison to the two forces that he is observing, the lilacs, and the butterflies. He shows himself as the observer of the interaction of these two great cosmic forces; the flowers, feminine, yin, intuitive and subconscious mind; and the butterflies, representing the active, yang, rational and male aspect. The butterflies are irresistably attracted to the sweet, colorful blossoms, in the eternal interaction of yin and yang.
Within this self-portrait, we see that Victor depicts himself as working on his self-portrait (painting on easel). He is taking a break from his work to hold a bouquet of lilacs. On the far right of the table, we see a new book. This is Victor's book, of his paintings and thoughts; it is his contribution to knowledge.