145 Facts About Mikhail Vrubel


The "first act" peaked in the 1880s when Mikhail Vrubel was studying at the Imperial Academy of Arts and then moved to Kiev to study Byzantine and Christian art.


The "third act" lasted from 1903 to 1906 when Mikhail Vrubel was suffering from his mental illness that gradually undermined his physical and intellectual capabilities.


At the beginning of the 20th century, Mikhail Vrubel's art became an organic part of the Russian Art Nouveau.


Mikhail Vrubel retired at the rank of Major General, was twice married and had three sons and four daughters.


At that time, the Mikhail Vrubel family lived in Omsk where Alexander was serving as a desk officer of the 2nd Steppe Siberian Corps.


One of the memories that Mikhail Vrubel had from that period is how his sick mother lay in bed and cut out for her children "little people, horses and different fantastic figures" from paper.


In 1863, Alexander Mikhail Vrubel got married for the second time to Elizaveta Vessel from Saint Petersburg, who dedicated herself to her husband's children.


In 1867, the family moved to Saratov where podpolkovnik Mikhail Vrubel took command of the provincial garrison.


Mikhail Vrubel started his education at the Fifth St Petersburg Gymnasium where the school directorate paid particular attention to the modernization of teaching methods, the advancement of classical studies, the literary development of high school students, dance and gymnastics lessons.


In 1870, after living three years in Saint Petersburg, the Mikhail Vrubel family moved to Odessa where Alexander was appointed as a judge in the garrison court.


However, comparing to other interests that Mikhail Vrubel had, painting classes did not occupy much of his time.


Mikhail Vrubel was a quick learner and was the first in his class.


Mikhail Vrubel had a special interest in literature, languages, history, and, on vacations, he loved to read to his sister in original Latin.


In 1876, Mikhail Vrubel had to repeat the second year due to poor grades and a desire to strengthen his knowledge on the subjects.


However, even though Mikhail Vrubel studied for a year more than was expected, he could not defend his thesis and graduated in the rank of "deistvitel'nyi student" which was the lowest scientific degree that one can graduate with.


At that time, Mikhail Vrubel did not spend much time on practicing painting, though he made several illustrations for literary works both classic and contemporary.


Active participation in theatrical life required considerable expenses which is why Mikhail Vrubel regularly worked as a tutor and a governess.


Mikhail Vrubel lived with the Papmel family as a relative: in the winter he went to the opera with them, in the summer he moved with everyone to their cottage in Peterhof.


Papmels put on quite a spread and everything about them was opposite to the way the Mikhail Vrubel family lived; their house was a full bowl, even in an excessively literal sense, and during his time with Papmels, Mikhail Vrubel firstly discovered his passion for wine which was never been lacking.


In one of his letters from 1879, Vrubel mentioned that he renewed his acquaintance with a Russian watercolourist Emilie Villiers, who in every possible way patronized Mikhail' pictorial experiences in Odessa.


Later, Mikhail Vrubel began to communicate closely with students of the Imperial Academy of Arts who worked under the patronage of a famous Russian painter Pavel Chistyakov.


Mikhail Vrubel started attending evening academic classes where auditioning was allowed, and started to hone plastic skills.


Mikhail Vrubel demonstrated "softness, pliability, shyness in little things in everyday life; while iron perseverance accompanied his general higher direction of life".


All of them, including Mikhail Vrubel, recognized Chistyakov as their only teacher, honouring him to the last days.


One of the most crucial acquaintances that Mikhail Vrubel met during his time in the Academy was Valentin Serov.


In one of the letters to his sister, Mikhail Vrubel mentioned that by "taking advantage of the [public] ignorance, Repin stole that special pleasure that distinguishes the state of mind before a work of art from the state of mind before the expanded printed sheet".


Mikhail Vrubel's intention was to make "some similarities with Lawrence Alma-Tadema".


However, Mikhail Vrubel did not abandon his idea to get paid for his creative work.


Mikhail Vrubel decided to participate in the contest initiated by the Imperial Society for the Encouragement of the Arts and chose the plot of "Hamlet and Ophelia" in the style of Rafael's realism.


The self-portrait sketches of Hamlet and watercolors for the general composition which depict the Danish prince as represented by Mikhail Vrubel have been preserved.


Mikhail Vrubel successfully finished the painting "Sitter in the Renaissance Setting" with characteristic for Mikhail Vrubel "painting embossing".


Under the impression from the "Sitter", Mikhail Vrubel returned to "Hamlet".


The years that Mikhail Vrubel spent in Kiev turned out to be almost the most important in his career.


In five years, Mikhail Vrubel completed an enormous number of paintings.


Mikhail Vrubel felt like an accomplice in the hard work of the ancient masters and tried to be worthy of them.


Mikhail Vrubel staged his arrival in Kiev in his signature style.


The fresco "Descent of Holy Spirit on the Apostles" that Mikhail Vrubel painted on the choir of the St Cyril's church bridged both features of Byzantine art and his own portrait pursuits.


The zinc boards for Mikhail Vrubel' icons were delivered directly from Kiev; however, for a long time painter could not establish his own techniques and the paint could not stick to the metal.


Mikhail Vrubel settled Vrubel in his own house and tried to persuade him to stay in Odessa forever.


In letters to his family, Mikhail Vrubel mentioned a tetralogy that probably became one of his side interests.


In Kiev, Mikhail Vrubel met frequently with associates of writer Ieronim Yasinsky.


Mikhail Vrubel even noted that this painting would be unlikely to connect with either the public or with representatives of the Academy of art.


Mikhail Vrubel tried to give it to Emily Prakhova as a gift; and tore it up after she rejected it.


The next day, Alexander Mikhail Vrubel came to Prakhov looking for his son.


Confused Prakhov had to explain to him that Mikhail Vrubel's disappearance was due to his infatuation with an English singer from the cafe-chantant.


Nevertheless, friends tried to ensure that Mikhail Vrubel had regular income.


Mikhail Vrubel lived on the outskirts of Kiev, getting inspirations only from the ancient masters.


In 1889, Mikhail Vrubel had to urgently travel to Kazan where his father got seriously ill; later he recovered, but due to illness, still had to resign and then settle down in Kiev.


Mikhail Vrubel's moving to Moscow was accidental, like many other things that happened in his life.


Mikhail Vrubel made all his illustrations in black watercolour; monochromaticity made it possible to emphasize the dramatic nature of the subject and made it possible to show the range of textured pursuits explored by the artist.


The colours Mikhail Vrubel uses have a brittle, crystal-like quality which emphasises the livelesness, sterility and coldness of the Demon reflected in the surrounding nature.


One of the characteristics of Mikhail Vrubel's art is the glowing sparkling effect many of his paintings possess.


Mikhail Vrubel became so fond of the local landscapes that decided to stay in there.


Mikhail Vrubel's goal was to find the "pure and stylishly beautiful," that at the same time made its way into everyday life, and thereby to the heart of the public.


Mikhail Vrubel was attracted to it because of maiolica's simplicity, spontaneity, and its rough texture and whimsical spills of glaze.


Mikhail Vrubel accompanied the family as a consultant which led to a conflict between him and Mamontov's wife, Elizaveta.


Mikhail Vrubel did not get along with other Russian artists working in Rome and continuously accused them with the lack of artistic talent, plagiarism, and other things.


Mikhail Vrubel was much closer to brothers Alexander and Pavel Svedomsky with whom he regularly visited variete "Apollon" and cafe "Aran'o".


Mikhail Vrubel enjoyed their studio which was rebuilt from the former greenhouse.


Mikhail Vrubel highly respected him and willingly worked under the Rizzoni's supervision.


Mikhail Vrubel subsequently wrote that "I have not heard from many people so much fair but benevolent criticism".


In winter 1892, Mikhail Vrubel decided to participate in the Paris Salon where he got an idea for the painting "Snow-maiden".


Mikhail Vrubel returned from Italy with an idea to draw landscapes from photographs which resulted in a single earning of 50 rubles.


Also, together with the most famous architect of Moscow Art Nouveau Fyodor Schechtel, Vrubel decorated the Zinaida Morozova's mansion on Spiridonovka street and A Morozov's house in Podsosenskiy lane.


Literature on architecture emphasizes the exclusive role that Mikhail Vrubel played in forming artistic appearances of the Moscow Art Nouveau.


Until November 1893, Mikhail Vrubel worked on "The judgement of Paris" that was supposed to decorate the Dunker's mansion.


Mikhail Vrubel set up a studio in his house on Zemlyanoy Val street where Vrubel stayed for the first half of the 1890s.


At that time, Anna Mikhail Vrubel relocated to Moscow from Orenburg and was able to see her brother more often.


In 1894, Mikhail Vrubel plunged into severe depression, and Mamontov sent him to Italy to look after his son Sergei, a retired hussar officer who was supposed to undergo treatment in Europe.


Artsybushev bought this work, and with the money received, Mikhail Vrubel returned to Moscow.


Approximately at the same time, Mikhail Vrubel painted "The Fortune Teller" in one day, following the strong internal desire.


Mikhail Vrubel organized the dinner in the hotel "Paris" where he lived.


In 1895, Mikhail Vrubel attempted to gain authority among Russian art circles.


The newspaper "Russkiye Vedomosti" critically engaged with the painting and benevolently listed all the exhibitors except for Mikhail Vrubel who was separately mentioned as an example of how to deprive the plot of its artistic and poetic beauty.


Later Mikhail Vrubel participated in the All-Russia Exhibition 1896 dedicated to the Coronation of Nicholas II and Alexandra Feodorovna.


Mikhail Vrubel planned to decorate the first wall with the painting "Mikula Selyaninovich" that metaphorically depicted the Russian land.


Mikhail Vrubel's panels are terrifying; we need to take them off, waiting for the juri.


Mamontov told Mikhail Vrubel to continue working and went to Saint Petersburg to persuade the members of the committee.


Mikhail Vrubel lost nothing financially since Mamontov bought both paintings for rubles each.


At that time, Mikhail Vrubel travelled to Europe to deal with marital affairs while Mamontov remained in charge of all his affairs in Moscow.


Mikhail Vrubel built a special pavilion named the "Exhibition of decorative panels made by Vrubel and rejected by the Academy of Arts".


Mikhail Vrubel made fun of "Mikula" by comparing it with a fictional character Chernomor.


At the beginning of 1896, Mikhail Vrubel travelled from Moscow to Saint Petersburg to pay a visit to Savva Mamontov.


Originally, Konstantin Korovin was responsible for the decorations and costumes but because of illness had to renounce the order in favour of Mikhail Vrubel who had never even attended an opera before.


On one of the rehearsals, the painter saw Nadezhda Zabela-Mikhail Vrubel who played the role of Gretel's little sister.


In one of his letters to Anna Mikhail Vrubel, he mentioned that he would kill himself immediately if Nadezhda rejected his proposal.


At the point of their engagement, Mikhail Vrubel was utterly broke and even had to go from the station to Nadezhda's house by walk.


However, Mikhail Vrubel did not many commissions in the city and had to live on his wife's money.


Zabela remembered that Mikhail Vrubel listens to the opera "Sadko" in which she sang the role of Princess of Volkhov no less than 90 times.


In 1898, during the summer stay in Ukraine, Mikhail Vrubel experienced several symptoms of his future disease.


Mikhail Vrubel's migraines got so strong that the painter had to take phenacetin in large quantities.


Mikhail Vrubel started to experience intense anxiety, especially if somebody did not agree with his opinion on a piece of art.


The lightning Mikhail Vrubel chose to incorporate and which shines lightly on the figure creates a mysterious atmosphere.


The figure of the bogatyr in Mikhail Vrubel's painting can be interpreted as a representation of nature turned human, at least it feels an intimate part of it.


Mikhail Vrubel tried to make the figure of the bogatyr and the background a whole.


At the exhibition, Mikhail Vrubel' works were exhibited at The Palace of Furniture and Decoration.


In those same years, Mikhail Vrubel worked as an invited artist in the Dulyovo porcelain factory.


Ten years later, Mikhail Vrubel returned to the theme of Demon which is evident from his correspondence with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov at the end of 1898.


The metallic powder Mikhail Vrubel used resembles the Byzantine mosaics that had inspired him.


The Demon was many times almost finished, but Mikhail Vrubel re-painted it over and over again.


Mikhail Vrubel started suffering from insomnia, from day to day, his anxiety increased, and the painter became unusually self-confident and verbose.


Mikhail Vrubel travelled to Moscow without knowing the diagnosis where his condition only worsened.


Mikhail Vrubel's painting was bought for 3 000 rubles by the famous collector Vladimir von Meck.


Mikhail Vrubel's madness attracted the attention of the press; however, the reviews were mostly negative.


In September 1902, Mikhail Vrubel's condition had improved somewhat, and he even stopped bugging and drawing pornography became polite.


Mikhail Vrubel started to receive guests, including Vladimir von Meck and Pyotr Konchalovsky.


Mikhail Vrubel was lethargic and absent-minded, all attempts to paint led to nothing.


Vladimir von Meck suggested the Mikhail Vrubel family spend the summer in his mansion in the Kiev Governorate.


Mikhail Vrubel moved from apathy to grief, starting actively plan the funeral.


Mikhail Vrubel tried to look peppy and support his wife, who did not say a word.


Mikhail Vrubel was in a heavy depression and wanted to commit suicide for which he refused to take any food.


However, the local doctor did not confirm the diagnosis of Bekhterev and Serbsky, claiming that Mikhail Vrubel is an artist in melancholy and he needs to work.


Nadezhda Vrubel wrote to Anna Vrubel that Mikhail is sleep-deprived and he is again not satisfied with the face which he redrew continuously.


However, the painter survived and in the summer, following the Serbsky's advise, on July 9,1904, Mikhail Vrubel was put in the sanitary clinic of Fedor Usoltsev in Petrovsky park.


Doctor Usoltsev diagnosed Mikhail Vrubel with a Tabes dorsalis which is a form of tertiary syphilis when treponema pallidum affects only the spinal cord, not the brain.


On one of the drawings made in the clinic, Mikhail Vrubel wrote: "To my dear and esteemed Fedor Arsenievich from the resurrected Mikhail Vrubel".


One of the most significant parts of preserved Mikhail Vrubel's legacy is pencil drawings.


Mikhail Vrubel sketched the corners of his room and some simple objects, such as chairs, a dress threw on a chair, a crumpled bed, candlestick, carafe, a rose in a glass.


In that period, Mikhail Vrubel painted a large number of her portraits depicting Nadezhda in different scenes.


However, the final version had the figures of sea princess on it, about which Mikhail Vrubel later told to Prakhov:.


Later Mikhail Vrubel kept seeing in their figures something obscene that appeared in the painting against his own will.


In February 1905, Mikhail Vrubel again started having the symptoms of psychosis.


Mikhail Vrubel usually sleeps through the night for five hours, and a rare day so that he does not sleep at least three hours.


Only after half of the year Mikhail Vrubel started more or less adequately show responsiveness to the physical environment.


Mikhail Vrubel entered with a wrong, heavy gait as if he was dragging his feet.


Mikhail Vrubel had a reddish face and bird of prey eyes; protruding hair instead of a beard.


Twelve days later, Mikhail Vrubel complained to his wife that he could not read or paint.


At the beginning of February 1906, Anna Vrubel visited her brother Mikhail.


Anna and Nadezhda settled in one apartment while Mikhail Vrubel was put in the excellent clinic run by doctor Konasevich where the painter celebrated his 50 years anniversary.


The request was approved, and Mikhail Vrubel started receiving 75 rubles in summer and 100 rubles in winter months.


Anna Mikhail Vrubel visited brother daily, walked with him and read to him.


Later Anna Mikhail Vrubel recalled that in the last year her brother was saying that he is tired of living.


The death record states that Mikhail Vrubel "died from progressive paralysis".


Everyone who knew Mikhail Vrubel noted the specificities of his personality; however, his inherent character traits were so peculiar that were later rethought through the prism of his mental illness.


Once summer, Mikhail Vrubel, who lived with me at the studio on Dolgorukovskaya Street, was running out of money.


Mikhail Vrubel came back soon, took a large basin and a bucket of water, and poured some cologne from a beautiful bottle from Francois Coty into the water.


Nadezhda Zabela-Mikhail Vrubel died on June 20,1913, at the age of 45, right after the concert where she participated.


An alleged transfer of the Mikhail Vrubel's ash did not take place as well.


Mikhail Vrubel's works are exhibited in The State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg, Mikhail Vrubel Museum of Fine Arts in Omsk, Kyiv Art Gallery, Odessa Art Museum, Belarusian National Arts Museum, and other places.


Many researchers and critics have differently evaluated the impact that Mikhail Vrubel had on Russian and Global art.


Mikhail Vrubel did not consider Vrubel as a typical representative of Art Nouveau, mainly because he "coincided with Art Nouveau in his far from best features".


Klimov suggested that Mikhail Vrubel started to express specific features of Art Nouveau already in the paintings from the "Kiev period", such as stylization as the main principle of form interpretation, aspiration for synthesis, emphasis on the role of the silhouette, cold colouring, symbolism of mood.


Mikhail Vrubel perceived academism as a starting point for his own movement forward, as a combination of essential professional skills.


In terms of personality and artistic thinking, Mikhail Vrubel was a pronounced individualist; he was alien to the ideas of social justice, collegiality or Orthodox unity that inspired other artists of his generation.


Mikhail Vrubel had to wait for his admirers, customers and patrons to appear only in the mid-1890s.