Title taken, again, from one of the novels I love the most: "The Master and Margarita" by Mikhail Bulgakov, in particular from the character of Margarita, about whom I'll share a brief overview:
Margarita is the Master's mistress, who refuses to despair of her lover or his work (as a writer of a novel about Pontius Pilate, which will be one of the settings of the book itself). She is invited to the Devil's midnight ball, where Satan (called Woland in the novel) offers her the chance to become a witch with supernatural powers. This coincides with the night of Good Friday since the Master's novel also deals with this same spring full moon when Christ's fate is sealed by Pontius Pilate and he is crucified in Jerusalem. All three events in the novel are linked by this. Learning to fly and control her unleashed passions (not without exacting violent retribution on the literary bureaucrats who condemned her beloved to despair), and taking her enthusiastic maid Natasha with her, Margarita enters naked into the realm of night. She flies over the deep forests and rivers of the USSR; bathes and returns to Moscow as the anointed hostess for Satan's great Spring Ball. Standing by his side, she welcomes the dark celebrities of human history as they arrive from Hell. She survives this ordeal without breaking, and for her pains, Satan offers to grant Margarita her deepest wish. Margarita selflessly chooses to liberate a woman whom she met at the ball from the woman's eternal punishment: the woman was raped and had later suffocated her newborn by stuffing a handkerchief in its mouth. Her punishment was to wake up every morning and find the same handkerchief lying on her nightstand. Satan grants her first wish and offers her another, citing that the first wish was unrelated to Margarita's own desires. For her second wish, she chooses to liberate the Master and live in poverty-stricken love with him.
In this portrait I tried to enhance her unbearable passions and fierceness through the use of dramatic and vibrant colours, as well as her estatic expression.
“Follow me, reader! Who told you that there is no true, faithful, eternal love in this world! May the liar's vile tongue be cut out! Follow me, my reader, and me alone, and I will show you such a love!” Mikhail Bulgakov- The Master and Margarita
Overall atmosphere inspired by the novel "Le rouge et le noir" by Stendhal.
Le Rouge et le Noir (French for The Red and the Black), 1830, by Stendhal, is a historical psychological novel in two volumes, chronicling a provincial young man’s attempts to rise socially beyond his modest upbringing with a combination of talent and hard work, deception and hypocrisy — yet who ultimately allows his passions to betray him.
I've always found to be truly fascinating the concept of duality developed throughout the novel, also embodied by Madame de Renal and Mathilde de la Mole the two main contrasting female characters and love interests of Julien Sorel, the protagonist.
The first one, Madame de Renal, is a middle class woman in her thirties, married with children, spontaneous, sensitive, tenderhearted. She awakens to a new existence when she falls in love with Julien. It is as if her previous thirty years had not existed. This sudden, overwhelming blossoming of her being explains the violence and permanence of her passion. She represents Julien's heart.
The second one, Mathilde de la Mole, symbolizes french aristocracy and upper class. She has a strong romantic nature and pride, motivated only by a thirst for the novel, the bizarre, the unusual. In a sense, she is as much the victim of the reigning social order as is Julien since it stifles her imagination and potential of energy. Her aggressiveness and domineering nature cause her, in effect, to play a masculine role, which explains in part the impression she gives as Julien's rival. She represents Julien's head.
I tried to make this portrait as a tribute to both of the ladies aforementioned, thus embodying in one single figure both the red and black, while staying as close as possible to the reference, which I particularly love.