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Mikhail Vrubel first turned to the poetry of A.S. Pushkin in his work in 1896, when he was looking for a fresh plot for a panel at the Nizhny Novgorod Fair. The poem “Prophet” was especially interested in the artist, however, at that time the plan never came true. Only a sketch remains.
The image of the Prophet became an integral part of Vrubel’s fantasies, which, under the influence of a serious illness accompanied by hallucinations, painted metamorphic plots.
The painting "The Prophet", ripened and born in 1898, combines the two canons of composition. This technique was first used in practice and then often used by the author in his works.
Interestingly, Vrubel initially wrote The Prophet in full growth. Later, the artist himself, for reasons only known to him, cut off the bottom of the work and left the top whole. The lower half began to live their own lives. She became the backdrop to the work "Lady in Purple."
V.D. Milioti often recalled Vrubel’s strangeness. He wrote that he had observed many paintings in the artist’s workshop, the composition of which was cut in the middle on the back.
Later there were numerous interpretations of the first "Prophet" on the theme of the poem of A.S. Pushkin. The features of the face of Seraphim in them smoothly flow into the familiar face of the artist’s wife. The Prophet himself became an almost self-portrait of the author.
Everything was so mixed up in Vrubel’s ill consciousness that in the last years of his life he was simply not able to distinguish fantasies from reality. Manic psychosis made him work more and more every day. The artist accepted death as purification in 1910.
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