Pencil drawings of 1904 are extremely interesting. This is the only surviving series of full-scale sketches in Vrubel’s legacy. Returning to artistic work, Vrubel felt the need, again, as during the years of apprenticeship, to exercise his hand and eye with intensified work from nature. At this time, he had little “fantasies”. He drew portraits of doctors, hospital attendants, patients visiting his acquaintances, doing sketches from the window, sketching the corners of the room, simple objects: an armchair, a dress, a candlestick, a decanter, a glass.
The most remarkable among the drawings made in the hospital are several portraits – Dr. Usoltsev and his family members. Pencil Portrait of Dr. FA Usoltsev for the beauty and hardness of technology and the expressiveness of the psychological stands at the level of the best portrait work Vrubel. He was made inspirational. A thin, thin face with a cap of curly hair, penetrating eyes that gaze fixedly at them – they shine with hypnotic power.
The impeccable molding of the portrait is achieved by a system of angular, multidirectional strokes, which, for all the whimsical arabesque, modelly sculpt the shape in its protuberances and grooves, shadows and glare. The character is conveyed by a manly, strong-willed manner of drawing.
In the spring of 1905, the artist again felt the familiar symptoms of the approach of the disease. Now he perceived them extremely sapiently. Going back to the clinic again, he, as his sister recalled, “says goodbye to what is especially close and dear to him.” He invited his friends of youth, as well as his beloved old teacher Chistiakov, before his departure; visited the exhibition “New Society of Artists”, whom he sympathized with; went with his wife and called out from Moscow Usoltsev in the Panaevsky Theater, where he first saw Zabela nine years ago. Circle of life closed. The next morning Usoltsev took Vrubel away to Moscow, to his “sanatorium.”