Happy birthday, Mikhail Vrubel!

On March 17, 1856, the brilliant Russian artist Mikhail Vrubel was born.

Mikhail VRUBEL. Self-portrait. 1904-1905
Mikhail VRUBEL. Self-portrait. 1904-1905
Charcoal, sanguine on paper. 35.5 × 29.5 cm. © Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

Mikhail Vrubel (1856-1910) holds a unique place in the history of Russian art. On the one hand, he belonged to the legendary cohort of Russian Art Nouveau artists. According to his contemporaries, it was in his oeuvre that “we find the saddest and most beautiful artistic expression of the time”[2] In a newspaper article on the occasion of Vrubel’s funeral, the celebrated Russian artist and art historian Alexandre Benois predicted: “Future generations, should true enlightenment shine upon the Russian public, will look back at the last decades of the 19th century as ‘the era of Vrubel’.” Nevertheless, there is clearly a great gap between Vrubel and his artistic milieu: he seems to be much more in touch with the future than with the world around him. “Here is what I do know: I can only stand in awe of the mysteries that Vrubel and others like him begin to reveal to mankind once in 100 years. We are unable to see the worlds that were open to them, and so all we can do is utter this feeble, indifferent word: ‘genius’.
Irina Shumanova «Vrubel: an Artist for the Ages»

In 2021-2022 a grandiose exhibition "Mikhail Vrubel" was held in the Tretyakov Gallery on Krymsky Val.

Exhibition «Mikhail Vrubel»
Photograph of Tatyana Uspenskaya


Publications of the Tretyakov Gallery magazine,
dedicated to Mikhail Vrubel



Elena Zhukova
Mikhail Vrubel: A Fantasia Portrait

#4 2004 (05)

This year the Tretyakov Gallery can boast of a new addition to its Vrubel collection, which is known as one of the most representative in the world. The new acquisition is "Portrait of Nastya Vrubel" – Nastya being the shortened, affectionate name for Anastasia, who was the painter’s half-sister. It had been a family treasure trad-itionally passed on from mother to daughter, and was acquired by the Gallery from Anastasia’s granddaughter; the work is printed here for the first time.




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