Mikhail Vrubel is usually regarded amongst the Russian Symbolists and Art Nouveau artists. In reality, he deliberately stood aloof from contemporary art trends. Therefore, the origin of his unusual manner should be sought in Late Byzantine and Early Renaissance painting, which is presented at the new exhibition at Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev.
The name of Russian artist Mikhail Vrubel is often associated with Kiev. Indeed, he spent a part of his artistic career in this magnificent city, contributing to its cultural, artistic and spiritual life. In 1884, he was summoned to replace the lost 12th-century murals and mosaics in the St. Cyril's Church of Kiev with the new ones. In order to execute this commission, he went to Venice to study medieval Christian art. It was here that, in the words of an art historian, ‘his palette acquired new strong saturated tones resembling the iridescent play of precious stones’. Most of his works painted in Venice have been lost, because the artist was more interested in creative process than in promoting his artwork.
Photo: Angel with censer. (The copy of Vrubel’s sketch for paintings at Saint Volodymyr Cathedral in Kiev)
In 1886, he returned to Kiev, where he submitted some designs and sketches to the newly built Saint Volodymyr Cathedral. The jury, however, failed to appreciate the novelty of his works, and they were rejected.
Photo: Resurrection. (The copy of Vrubel’s sketch for paintings at Saint Volodymyr Cathedral in Kiev)
The new exhibition, dedicated to the 160th anniversary of Mikhail Vrubel, is currently on display at Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev. Here the visitors can see the working stool from the reserve collection, which Vrubel made by himself and used during his work on the murals for Kiev churches. In addition, the exhibition includes originals and copies of paintings by Mikhail Vrubel and original historical documents.
Photo: Vrubel’s working stool
Don’t miss the chance to visit the new exhibition at Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev, especially if you haven’t seen the Saint Sophia complex itself yet!