Mikhail Aleksandrovich Vrubel

Born in Omsk in 1856. Died in St. Petersburg in 1910. Vrubel only began studying painting in 1880, after graduating from the law faculty of St. Petersburg University. At the Academy of Arts, he studied under the renowned teacher and graphic artist P.P. Chistyakov. As early as 1884, the young artist was assigned the restoration of ancient frescos in Kiev at the 12th century Kirillov Church. There, Vrubel did other work as well, creating an iconostasis, an icon of the Mother of God, and a mural painting. In Kiev, Vrubel also created sketches of the unfinished painting of the St. Vladimir Cathedral, which was under construction at the time. This influenced the artist’s subsequent style and some of his painting subjects. From 1890, Vrubel lived in Moscow, and was a member of the Abramtsevo Circle. At that time, he turned to the then topical epic motifs in his paintings, and began to work in ceramics. He invented a special baking method that gave clay a metallic luster. Vrubel did the sketches of the theatrical décor and costumes for S. I. Mamontov’s private opera. In the 1890s, Vrubel decorated several Moscow estates, and in 1896, the art pavilion at the Nizhny Novgorod Industrial Trade Fair. From 1902, the artist suffered from deep depression, but continued to create from life. During some relief from his illness in 1904–1905, he created landscape paintings and graphics, still life and portraits.

Lilac - 1900, oil on canvas. State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
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