11 masterpieces of the modernist of Russia Mikhail Vrubel

11 masterpieces of the modernist of Russia Mikhail Vrubel

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A genius who combined romanticism and modernity in a truly impeccable style, Vrubel is a harbinger of the Russian avant-garde of the end of the century.

As befits a noble child, Mikhail Vrubel studied various arts from an early age. The painting was not the only topic, no less time and effort was devoted to music. He also loved literature immensely, and his works are replete with images inspired by folklore and mythology, Shakespeare and the romantic poets Goethe, Pushkin, and Lermontov. In his youth, Vrubel loved opera and subsequently made many studies for various productions.

His artistic talent first emerged when he created a heartfelt reproduction of Michelangelo's Last Judgment fresco after seeing a copy in an exhibition. His father hired an art teacher for him, but nothing came of it.

Vrubel graduated from the law faculty of St. His first salary and recognition came from his major restoration of frescoes in the Church of St. Cyril in Kiev.

Vrubel was an impulsive, assertive, and passionate person, like his work. He worked obsessively, then fell into depression and drank. Society as a whole did not appreciate his work, calling it decadent and even ugly. The physical disability was added to the mental distress at the age of 50 when he became confined to a wheelchair. Over and over again, after a long stay in the hospital and some brief glimpses of improvement, he retreated, cementing his reputation as a madman. Vrubel died in 1910. At his funeral, the great poet Alexander Blok, his admirer, delivered a panegyric, calling him "the messenger of other worlds." Let's plunge into these other worlds inhabited by Vrubel.

11 PHOTOS

11 masterpieces of the modernist of Russia Mikhail Vrubel

1. Demon seated, 1890

Vrubel nurtured the idea and image of his Demon for several years, and this is one of the first works to demonstrate his "crystal" style. Wide strokes applied with a special spatula create the impression, not so much of a picture as of a mosaic panel - a technique influenced by the mosaics of the Kiev cathedrals where he worked. The painting is inspired by Mikhail Lermontov's romantic poem "The Demon", which tells about a fallen angel wandering the Earth, finding no rest anywhere. Vrubel had his own understanding of the central figure, which personifies not evil, but suffering, and at the same time is majestic. In addition, Vrubel wrote a series of watercolor illustrations for the same poem.

11 masterpieces of the modernist of Russia Mikhail Vrubel

2. Court of Paris 1893

In 1889, Vrubel moved to Moscow, where he met a major industrialist, philanthropist, and art lover Savva Mamontov, who changed his life. The modernist, innovator Vrubel had not yet been accepted in society, but Mamontov had a nose for artistic flair and instructed the artist to decorate his Moscow mansion. Soon Vrubel became popular with other art lovers. For example, for the house of the Dunker family in Moscow, he created an incredible triptych "The Judgment of Paris", which other customers refused for inexplicable reasons.

11 masterpieces of the modernist of Russia Mikhail Vrubel

3. Princess Dreams, 1896

This huge canvas was again commissioned by Savva Mamontov for the pavilion of the All-Russian Art and Industrial Exhibition of 1896 in Nizhny Novgorod. However, the Imperial Academy of Arts did not allow the painting to appear at the exhibition. Instead, Mamontov ordered a mosaic copy of the painting to decorate the facade of the Metropol Hotel, the construction of which he financed in the early 20th century, opposite the Bolshoi Theater. The painting itself was kept for many years in the storerooms of the Bolshoi Theater before in 2007 it was finally transferred to the Tretyakov Gallery. The building had to be specially reconstructed for it, and a whole room dedicated to Vrubel appeared as a result.

11 masterpieces of the modernist of Russia Mikhail Vrubel

4. Portrait of Savva Mamontov, 1897

Vrubel painted several portraits of real people, but one of them was his benefactor, Savva Mamontov. The dark, crooked image reflects the real drama in which the industrialist finds himself. A prominent philanthropist, he was unjustly accused of embezzlement; shortly after this portrait, he was arrested and tried, but ultimately acquitted. But this did not prevent financial ruin, forcing him to sell his properties, including many of the works of leading artists.

11 masterpieces of the modernist of Russia Mikhail Vrubel

5. Volga Svyatoslavich and Mikula Selyaninovich (Fireplace), 1899

A whole art circle lived in the estate of Savva Mamontov Abramtsevo. Here Vrubel often stopped and even organized a ceramic workshop, where he and his assistants turned his numerous sketches into stove tiles, majolica panels, sculptures, and other decorative elements, mainly with fairy-tale and mythological motives. This folklore work won a gold medal at the 1900 Paris Exhibition. A copy of it was made for the Bazhanov House in Moscow, completely designed in the Art Nouveau style.

11 masterpieces of the modernist of Russia Mikhail Vrubel

6. Pan, 1899

The "Russian style" was very much in vogue at the turn of the 20th century, and Vrubel was among those seeking to revive national folklore, both in ceramics and painting. Although this picture was painted under the influence of the story "Saint Satyr" by French writer Anatole France, so aptly named, Vrubel transports the ancient Greek mythical character to Russian soil. His Pan is more like a spirit, an otherworldly forest spirit, hiding against the background of a typically Russian landscape.

11 masterpieces of the modernist of Russia Mikhail Vrubel

7. Sadko Dish, 1899-1900

Vrubel designed the scenery for the production of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's "Sadko" for the private theater of Savva Mamontov. This fairy tale from Russian folklore-inspired the artist to create a whole series of majolica sculptures of the heroes of the opera: Sadko, the Sea Tsar, the Princess. This sumptuous dish depicts them and other inhabitants of the underwater world.

11 masterpieces of the modernist of Russia Mikhail Vrubel

8. The Swan Princess, 1900.

Like Pan, the Swan Princess is another fabulous creature that seems to exist between the worlds. She is both a beautiful girl and a bird, and the artist is trying to capture the moment of this metamorphosis. The character was played by Vrubel's wife, singer Nadezhda Zabela-Vrubel, in another opera by Rimsky-Korsakov - "The Tale of Tsar Saltan" based on a poem by Pushkin. However, many people guess in this incredible image the image of a married woman whom Vrubel loved unrequitedly before marriage.

11 masterpieces of the modernist of Russia Mikhail Vrubel

9. Demon defeated, 1902.

After his seated demon, Vrubel wrote "Flying Demon", which soars powerfully over the world, and then completed the cycle with this third demon, tragically killed. This broken figure is set against the backdrop of the Caucasus Mountains. The creation of this painting led Vrubel to hospitalization. Despite the fact that he made many sketches in advance, he made endless changes to the finished canvas. Vrubel's wife recalled how she watched with horror the changes in the Demon - on some days his face was scarred, on others, it expressed "deep melancholy and new-found beauty."

11 masterpieces of the modernist of Russia Mikhail Vrubel

10. Six-winged Seraphim, 1904

After the Demon Lermontov, who tormented him, Vrubel again turned into a complex creature: this time the hero of Alexander Pushkin's poem "The Prophet", the awe-inspiring angel Seraphim, the fiery messenger of God. The artist painted the picture in very poor health, tormented by hallucinations. As with his Demon, he was constantly dissatisfied with his facial features and repeatedly redrawn them.

11 masterpieces of the modernist of Russia Mikhail Vrubel

11. Pearl, 1904.

Initially, Vrubel was fascinated by the overflow of mother-of-pearl, and he tried to portray it using color experiments. Two sea princesses appeared in the picture almost by accident, when Vrubel allegedly "noticed" them in one of his sketches. They complete the picture, transforming the oyster shell into a magical grotto.

Keywords: Masterpieces | Modernist | Russia | Genius | Romanticism | Century | Russian | Style | Art | Artist | Paintings

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