Thursday, 17 January 2013

Mikhail Vrubel - Oil Study

A little while back I began some research into Russian Symbolist painting of the early 20th Century. I began my research looking into the art of the Ballet Russes company, but I soon discovered the work of Mikhail Vrubel. 
I really was drawn to the emotions he is able to express within his subjects from his Demon series and his compositional choices. His series of paintings is inspired by the long Romantic poem Demon by Mikhail Lermontov. 
Self Portrait 1885. Mikhail Vrubel.
Fallen Demon 1902.  Mikhail Vrubel

Demon Seated in a Garden, 1890. Mikhail Vrubel

I was particularly drawn to the way he applies paint in the painting above; in almost fragments of solid colour, applied in layers. The effect of these wide brush strokes of colour on top of a darker background, reminded me of the coloured panes of glass in a stained glass window framed in lead. 
Upon further reading, I discovered that Vrubel was a practicing stained glass artist. It was satisfying as an artist myself; interested in many different techniques, to see the crossover and unity in his style and execution.

So, feeling suitably inspired, I decided to exercise my oil paint brushes which have been in retirement since my A-Levels! I have always enjoyed painting in oils, but have never painted in a style such as Vrubel's. Here is the result, still a work in progress, but I hope to return to it soon and try this style of painting in my own work. Any suggestions or critiques are very much welcome.

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