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Painting "The Swan Princess", Mikhail Vrubel - Description

14 March 2022
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Painting "The Swan Princess", Mikhail Vrubel - Description


The Swan Princess - Mikhail Vrubel. 1900. Canvas, oil. 142,5 x 93,5 cm


This painting was the result of the artist's serious work on the scenery for "The Tale of Tsar Saltan" opera. At that time, the life of the whole family of the master was closely connected with this production. His wife played the role of the Princess, while the artist himself was entrusted with creating the scenery and costumes.

Of all the characters, it was the Swan Princess that interested the master most. Two natural principles - cold and warm, watery and airy, dark and light – attracted him in this image. Fabulousness, a wonderful combination of incompatible - became the main ideas of the artist.

It would be a mistake to think that the author was painting a portrait of his wife in character. The surviving photographs of Nadezhda Vrubel can prove that the image of the Princess was entirely originating from the artist's imagination.

The viewer is taken away by both numerous details and the general plot. The artist managed to convey the most wonderful moment - transformation. It is worth looking closely into the heroine's face: her large expressive eyes are already somewhat reminiscent of a bird's eyes; her lips are about to turn into a beak in a moment. Her feather dress is gorgeous. The color scheme is based on virgin white, which strikes with a variety of subtle shades. The silk-feather texture of the dress is rendered masterfully. Even the most inquisitive viewer will not determine the border between feathers and the heroine's outfit.

One cannot to tear away from the gaze of the Princess. Expecting a miracle, she seems to invite everyone to share with her all the magic of the moment.

In Russian mythology, a swan is a symbol of creative flight, inspiration, fantasy, and imagination. The painting was loved by many poets, and the master's colleagues studied it quite seriously to understand the secret of conveying a mother-of-pearl texture, elusive movement and mixing colors.

The work was purchased by the patron of art Morozov, and was sent to Tretyakov Gallery following the collector's will. Two detailed sketches for the painting are storeded in the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg.
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