The flight of Faust and Mephistopheles by Mikhail Vrubel

The flight of Faust and Mephistopheles by Mikhail Vrubel

In the mid-1890s, Vrubel received an order for a series of works for the cabinet in the Gothic style. The customer was one of the representatives of the famous Morozov dynasty. The cycle of works includes the panel “The Flight of Faust and Mephistopheles”, based on a medieval legend. The canvas combines gothic pointed spiers, baroque folds, modernism and Vrubel understanding of space.

Modernity is expressed in the planar styling and transmission of space. Particularly accurately conveyed the flight scene. Here, and an amazing perspective, and the complexity of perspective. Night. Over a small

medieval town, a pair of shaggy horses are rushing. Manes are fluttering in the wind. Mephistopheles sits astride a white horse. He triumphantly turned his face towards Faust. Faust’s face is completely dispassionate and impenetrable. He sits in profile to the viewer, clutching the horse’s mane. It is impossible to understand what he is thinking about at this moment.

The whole picture is raised by impressionist strokes from the lower right corner. Here the thistle, the cloak of Faust, just released from the thistle, the toe of the boot drops down here and points the sword hidden in the folds of the garment. All these contacts are brought out exactly to the horizon, to the eye line of the viewer. Mephistopheles looks not only at Faust, but also in this corner, where he can meet the eye with a real observer.

Vrubel’s accuracy to detail makes a truly witnessed event from a fantastic picture. Many lines, which must be continuous, are only indicated by a dotted line. In the foreground of the canvas, the artist painted huge thistle bushes. From this mystical scene from the medieval legend acquires some ominous realism.

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