All that is composed will decay...

Demons of Vrubel

Dec 12, 2014

A demon, daemon or fiend originates from "dæmon" and "daimōn", which are Latinized versions of the Greek "δαίμων", which does not carry the negative connotation and means "godlike power, fate, god". Neither does the word "devil", which cqan be translated from the Greek διάβολος or diábolos as "slanderer or accuser".

For Mikhail Vrubel, the Russian artist of the 19-20th centuries, the image of demon symbolizes the human restless soul overwhelmed by the passions and perpetually struggling for inner peace and self-awareness and, but unable to find the answers in either of the worlds.

«For about a month I've been drawing a Demon, not that it was the fundamental Demon I am going to draw over time, but "the demonic". A half naked winged young figure, sad and contemplative, is sitting, hands over the knees, against the backdrop of a sunset and looking at the blooming field with bendy branches stretching out to him from under the flowers...»

Demon Seated. 1890. Oil on canvas. The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia.

Head of Demon with mountains, 1890. Watercolor on paper. The Museum of Russian Art, Kiev, Ukraine

Head of Demon, 1890. Sculpture. State Russian Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia

Flying Demon, 1899. Oil on canvas. State Russian Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia

Fallen Demon, 1901. Watercolor on paper. Pushkin Museum of Fine Art, Moscow, Russia

Demon Prostrate. (Demon Overthrown), 1902. Tempera on canvas. The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia

Vrubel also created meaningful, beautiful illustrations to Mikhail Lermontov's poem "Demon" (1829—1839).

Vrubel's illustration to Lermontov's poem "Demon", for the anniversary edition after 50 years since the death of the poet, 1891. Golden watercolors.

The prominent Russian poet Alexandr Blok said at Vrubel's grave on the day of his death: «He left us his Demons to exorcise the violet evil and the night. What Vrubel and those like him reveal to mankind once a century, make me tremble with awe. We don't see the worlds they have seen».

Autoportrait, 1882. Paper, watercolours

Autoportrait, 1885. A Scetch. Paper, pencil

Autoportrait, 1904-1905. Pencil, watercolours