Art Kaleidoscope

Between art and craft

The curse of Vrubel beauties

Hamlet and Ophelia 1883

Mikhail Vrubel. Hamlet and Ophelia 1883

The curse of Vrubel beauties. In many paintings of Mikhail Vrubel the viewer can guess the image of his wife, a wonderful singer Nadezhda Zabela. According to a legend, a knight Geoffroy Rudel fell in love with the beautiful Melisande, never having seen her, and went to search for this wonderful princess. Vrubel also fell in love with the singer’s voice Zabela, and having seen her only once, he immediately offered her to become his wife. Their love was like a fairy tale. It failed to fade even during the tragic illness of Vrubel.

M. Vrubel. Princess Volkhova. NI Vrubel as Volkhova opera NA Rimsky Korsakov's 'Sadko'. 1897 - 1898

M. Vrubel. Princess Volkhova. NI Vrubel as Volkhova opera NA Rimsky Korsakov’s ‘Sadko’. 1897 – 1898

Mikhail Vrubel loved to invent unusual theatrical costumes for his beloved. he created for her a flowing dress of sea princess. And then imprinted her image in watercolor “NI Vrubel as Volkhova in the opera of NA Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Sadko”.

Portrait of N. Zabela-Vrubel (highlights on the stage dresses, ornaments on it look like the outline of the lips)

Portrait of N. Zabela-Vrubel (highlights on the stage dresses, ornaments on it look like the outline of the lips)

In the portrait of 1898 the artist’s wife is shown in a dress for a walk, but she turns in it into some unknown flower – the rose, chrysanthemum, carnation? … To this strange dress in which two translucent covers – pistachio and purple – shine through one another, the artist didn’t give a name, but each author’s work should have a title.

Swan Princess, 1900

Swan Princess, 1900

In the opera “The Tale of Tsar Saltan” wife of the artist Nadezhda Zabela-Vrubel sang the part of Swan Princess, both the costumes and scenery for a play were created by the artist himself. In the picture on the background of shimmering sea appears the main character of the tale. And before the eyes of the viewer magic actions are happenning: right wing of the princess has already turned into the pearly foam of the sea, and the left as if into stone, freezing with pearl plumage. In the picture there is a special secret of merging images of a swan and a princess. Princess’s hand decorated with rings looks like an elongated bird’s head. Take a good look, and you will see on the canvas not one, but two beings. Yet without losing the original appearance of the swan in front of you, it “turns into” a mysterious maiden. For Vrubel his wife has always been a woman from a fairy tale.

Nadezhda Zabela-Vrubel as Swan Princess 1900

Nadezhda Zabela-Vrubel as Swan Princess 1900

'Faust' Triptych. 1896

‘Faust’ Triptych. 1896

Even the wrong facial features, elongated hands, Vrubel turns into some magical appeal. He gives her delicate features even to Margarita – beloved of Faust, the hero of the medieval legend who received eternal youth, giving to the devil his immortal soul for it. Panels depicting these characters were written to decorate the mansion of Savva Morozov.

Tamara and Demon, 1890

Tamara and Demon, 1890

Figure of Margarita grows in the garden as radiant tree, like embroidered with light puncture line-stitch. It is the Spirit of the Eternal Feminine, which at the end of the XX century inspired dreams of artists and poets. Margarita has not been created for the coarse material world, as “a fleeting vision” she is ready to dissolve in the world of flowers, trees, clouds. But the devil – in its realization – Mephistopheles – creates intrigues: Faust, madly in love with Marguerite, forced to flee her city, and she goes crazy.

Flight of Faust and Mephistopheles, 1896

Flight of Faust and Mephistopheles, 1896

Fabulous horses, flying over the spiers of the towers of the medieval city, carry away two riders. This fantastic, grand mystery Vrubel painted on panel “Flight of Faust and Mephistopheles.”

Portrait of NI Zabela-Vrubel. 1904

Portrait of NI Zabela-Vrubel. 1904

Primavera (Spring), 1894

Primavera (Spring), 1894

Vrubel with wife

Vrubel with wife

The curse of Vrubel beauties. Lady in purple. Portrait of Nadezhda Zabela-Vrubel. 1904-05

Lady in purple. Portrait of Nadezhda Zabela-Vrubel. 1904-05

The curse of Vrubel beauties. After the concert. Unfinished portrait of Nadezhda-Zabela Vrubel

After the concert. Unfinished portrait of Nadezhda-Zabela Vrubel

The curse of Vrubel beauties. Mikhail Vrubel. Self-portrait, 1882

Mikhail Vrubel. Self-portrait, 1882

Mikhail Vrubel (March 17, 1856 – April 14, 1910) – one of the few true geniuses of Russian artists. Paintings of Vrubel – real gems of talent, inspiration and poetry among the dull and dreary paintings of the turn of the century. In Russia, there were many talented artists, but geniuses – few, and one of them is Vrubel.

source