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Bogatyr. 1898–99

Vrubel Mikhail,
Oil on Canvas
321,5 x 222 (верх треугольный)


Mikhail Vrubel was drawn to the mystery, primordial purity and spirituality of the bylina — a traditional Russian heroic poem. The ancient hero in his decorative attire and his trusty horse are inseparable from their environment — a morose forest closely guarding its secrets.
This sensation was possibly even stronger before the first owner, Malich, decided to change the original square format of the picture. The canvas was cut on three sides and inserted into a Gothic frame with an angular top. The artist wrote to his sister in January 1899: “The work is almost finished. I am so delighted by it that I want to risk showing it at the Academy exhibition — if it is accepted. After all, I am an attested decadent. This, however, is a misunderstanding; I believe that my new work will set the record straight.” Mikhail Vrubel’s panel was highly rated by the famous Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky- Korsakov.

Author's Biography

Vrubel Mikhail

Vrubel, Mikhail Alexandrovich
1856, Omsk -1910, St Petersburg
Painter, draughtsman, theatrical designer, applied artist, portraitist, writer of philosophical Symbolist compositions. Studied law at St Petersburg University (1874-79) and art under Pavel Chistyakov at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1880-84). Academician of painting (1905). Member of the Abramtsevo circle (from 1889). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1891). Contributed to the exhibitions of the Moscow Fellowship of Artists (1895, 1899, 1904), Exhibition of Russian and Finnish Artists (1898), World of Art (1900-03, 1906; member from 1900, 1911), 36 Artists (1901, 1902), Union of Russian Artists (1903-10; founding member), Exposition Universelle in Paris (1900; gold medal) and the International Exhibitions in Vienna (1901) and Venice (1907). Designed for Sawa Mamontov''s Russian Private Opera (1890-1901).

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