Mikhail Vrubel

Born: 1856, Omsk
Died: 1910, St Petersburg

Painter, graphic artist, theatrical designer, sculptor, applied artist, illustrator, writer. Studied at the School of Drawing of the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts (1864–69), Faculty of Law of St Petersburg University (1874–79) and under Pavel Chistyakov at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1880–84). Academician of painting (1905). Visited Venice to study medieval Christian art (1884). Restored frescoes at the Church of St Cyril in Kiev (1884–85) and designed murals for St Vladimir’s Cathedral in Kiev (1887). Studied oriental art (1880s) and Slavic mythology (1890s). Moved to Moscow and joined the Abramtsevo group (1889). Married the opera singer Nadezhda Zabela (1896), who performed for Savva Mamontov’s Russian Private Opera in Moscow. Designed sets and costumes for his wife (1890–1901). Illustrated Mikhail Lermontov’s poem The Demon (1890–91). Member of the World of Art (from 1900) and the Union of Artists (1903). Decorated the facade of the Metropole Hotel in Moscow (1905). Suffered a mental breakdown (1902) and went blind (1906). Died in a lunatic asylum and buried at the Novodevichy Cemetery in St Petersburg (1910). Contributed to the exhibitions of the Moscow Fellowship of Artists (1895, 1899, 1904, 1908–09), Exhibition of Russian and Finnish Artists (1898), World of Art (1900–03, 1906), 36 Artists (1901–03), Union of Russian Artists (1903–10), New Society of Artists (1908, 1910), Exposition Universelle in Paris (1900; gold medal) and the international exhibitions in Vienna (1901) and Venice (1907).

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