- Malej Izabella Doctor of Philology, Professor
Mikhail Vrubel (1856–1910) won the fame of a brilliant master of the brush of the Silver Age. He became the founder of Russian Art Noveau. Titanism and Renaissance universalism – inherent features of Vrubel’s talent – took shape in his aspiration to synthetic unification of different forms of fine arts. As an artist, Vrubel was a visionary. In his artistic method, he unified a profound analysis of nature and pictures of mystical intuition in the spirit of symbolism. Vrubel’s attention was focused on the symbolic picture of a creative person, challenging common consciousness and constantly forced to make moral and spiritual choices. Vrubel had officially suffered from a mental disorder from 1902, and he was subjected to treatment in clinics. When his health was improved, he fruitfully created new works of art. Vrubel’s life and creative work are an example of the unification of brilliant talent and severe psychopathology in one human soul. The beginning of Vrubel’s artistic creation is associated with high spirit. At that time (1890) Vrubel painted Demon Seated. Here, for the first time, the idea of omnipotence is manifested with ultimate expression. Demon is the artist himself, the symbol of his soul. Gradually the symptoms of anxiety begin to appear in Vrubel’s works (Pan, Night). The colour scheme of most of Vrubel’s pictures and of all self-portraits transmits two topics, two main notes – sorrow and anxiety. In Demon Seated, Flying Demon and Demon Downcast, the symptoms of oneiric syndrome are manifested. The demoniade shows the evolution of emotional states of the artist in an excellent way. It is noteworthy that psychopathological feelings experienced by Vrubel simultaneously enrich his emotional artistic palette. In this way, mental qualities obtain artistic value.
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