Vrubel often painted his wife. And he always walked away a little from reality, slightly elongating his face, widening his eyes, thereby making the image more mysterious. And the most real portrait, perhaps, was a pencil portrait of NI Zabela-Vrubel, made by the artist in 1905.
The artist tried to portray his wife quite soberly, even prosaically, outside the “image”, outside the poetic halo, – this is a strict, dryish portrait of the lady, on which even a wart above the upper lip is visible.
The portrait, apparently, is similar, but it’s not that Zabela, as on her other images. As if the artist, who had already undergone a sharp attack of mental illness, recovered from it and turned to careful study of nature, consciously wanted to be a dispassionate and impartial observer from the side.