M. A. Vrubel: "Lilac"

Mikhail Alexandrovich Vrubel (1856 - 1910) proved himself in many genres of art. In painting, he became the ancestor of the Russian symbolic direction. So much acclaimed "Lilac" Vrubel wrote in this style, but in the heyday of creative activity, he had no significant public recognition, was not accepted by the artistic community and was criticized by criticism.

Vrubel Lilac

Official recognition came to the artist only at the end of his life: in 1905 he became an academician of painting.

Vrubel belonged to the circle of "myrkissians", that is, to the union of creative individuals around the magazine "World of Art". Together with them, being embraced by the ideas of Slavophilism, he sought the manifestation of the beauty of the Russian soul, drawing inspiration from nature. Created in 1900 by M. A. Vrubel "Lilac" was exhibited thanks to this creative association.

His style of writing is usually attributed to the symbolic direction of modernity. But the master's works are not similar to others of this style, he has his own unique recognizability, with characteristic brightness, non-standard, original vision of the characters depicted.

The plot of the picture "Lilac" Vrubel saturated philosophically meaningful content.This and his other works are like dreams. Hence the fantastic character and the symbolism of the characters and the plot images of his pictorial works, because only in dreams does the organic images created by our dreams and desires organically intertwine with reality.

Interesting biography facts

It is known that Mikhail Alexandrovich Vrubel possessed synesthesia - the vision of music in color. It is believed that the “Lilac” created in 1900 by Vrubel conceived under the influence of the romance of Rachmaninoff, who was performed by his wife in his concerts.

The artist distinguished dozens of shades of white, while the eye of an ordinary person was only seven. And most importantly, he had such an inimitable style of writing pictures that it still protects them from fakes.

The circumstances of the painting

In 1898 N.I. Zabiela became the wife of M.A. Vrubel, whose sister was already married to the son of the famous painter Nikolai Nikolayevich Ge (1831-1894). The close kinship of the two families in May 1900 allowed Mikhail Alexandrovich to be a guest of the Ge family on a farm in the Chernigov province, located not far from the station of the railway Pliska.A lot of lilacs grew here, which Vrubel saw. The painting "Lilac" was painted immediately, directly in the workshop of N. N. Ge, and the flower itself became the leitmotif of many of his works.

Creation was written at the peak of creative activity. At the same time, the first symptoms of the deterioration of the artist’s mental health began to appear. Hence the dark coloring of his painting, mysticism and anxiety of images, the doom of his mood.

"Lilac" Vrubel: Description

Vrubel Lilac Picture

On the canvas, the master shows us a corner of the garden at night. Among the dark and indistinct outlines, bright spots of lilac bushes in all their shades of blue and violet are striking.

Lilac Vrubel depicted almost the entire surface of the canvas paintings, and it seems that this continues beyond its borders. There are so many lilacs that it fills the entire space around the viewer. We even begin to feel its delicate aroma.

A female silhouette woven from the night gloom floats into this riot of colors with an alarming shadow right in the foreground of the image. We can see black long hair, flowing in a thick wave over the shoulders and blending with the dark color of the vestment.The figure moves serenely and slowly through the picture. The moonlight in the dim rays selectively illuminates the girlish image: thin and pale, lifeless, hands touching the lilac flowers full of colors, past which the girl, her stern and pensive face half-hidden by the night shadows, quietly and sadly march.

The boundaries of the image are blurred, creating the illusion of a community of two - a lilac bush and a girl. The mood of the picture is anguish and loneliness, a premonition of death.

Symbolism in the picture

Giving a description of Vrubel's “Lilacs”, we ask ourselves the question of who is depicted on the canvas as a girl in black.

vrubel lilac description

The artist saw in her the lilac soul and gave her a name - Tatiana, comparing with the Pushkin's heroine, in which, it seemed to the artist, the soul of the poet was imprinted. Art critics find in this girl the features of Vrubel's wife, whom he often depicted on his canvases.

It is believed that this picture echoes the other - “Pan” from the series of Nocturnes “Fairytale cycle”, to which “Lilac” belongs. In this alliteration, confirmed by the master himself, in the girl's silhouette we recognize the nymph Syring, whom the satyr in “Pan” is in love with.

How many ambiguous, complex, deep images gathered in itself "Lilac"! Vrubel might have been scaring his contemporaries who wanted to see something more understandable, more familiar in the pictures.

In consonance with this work, it was conceived, but never completed, another canvas - “Lilac Blossom” of 1901, which the painter himself called more serious and thoughtful work, where he was going to more fully reflect his artistic concept, implemented in the work described.

However, it was he who was destined to become the turning point in the fate of the painter. Vrubel showed his “Lilac” at the exhibition of the compatriots in 1900, at the Academy of Arts. There it was noticed by sovereign Nikolay Aleksandrovich - the famous conservative in art. He became interested in her and left a sympathetic review, which immediately changed the attitude of critics to Mikhail Alexandrovich, gave him fame and glory.


About the works of Vrubel and about him most are polar opinions. Supporters of one of them are impressed by the mysterious mysticism of his paintings, which are recognized as masterpieces of painting. Others revered his genius for lack of talent, which is hiding behind non-standard subjects and drawing techniques. So, A. N.Benoit in The History of Russian Painting in the 19th Century wrote that “for many years Vrubel was a laughing stock of everyone, and only a tiny handful of people took him seriously and admired his enormous pictorial talent.

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