Mikhail Vrubel. Painting Six-Winged Seraphim, 1904

Painting “Six-Winged Seraphim” by Mikhail Vrubel

Painting “Six-Winged Seraphim” by Mikhail Vrubel – a mystical revelation of the master at the end of his life

“Six-Winged Seraphim” is a painting by Mikhail Aleksandrovich Vrubel, painted by him in 1904, during an exacerbation of his mental illness. The heavenly messenger, the executor of His will, looks at the viewer, as evidenced by a raised sword in one hand and a lighted lamp in the other. Seraphim’s face is impassive, he does not have his own desires or preferences, he completely obeys God. The artist uses greenish, blue, contrasting violet, red tones, creating a feeling of a formidable angel of death emerged from the chaos of delusional dreams. Lighter, pink and gold highlights in the painting give the impression of a stained glass window through which light breaks through.

Mikhail Vrubel. Painting Six-Winged Seraphim, 1904
Mikhail Vrubel. Painting Six-Winged Seraphim, 1904

Brief description of the painting

Title of the painting: “Six-Winged Seraphim”.
Author: Mikhail Alexandrovich Vrubel (1856-1910).
Year of writing: 1904.
Size: 155 x 131 cm.
Style: Symbolism.
Genre: Religious.
Technique: Oil painting.
Material: Canvas.
Location: State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg.

about the author

Mikhail Aleksandrovich Vrubel is a Russian painter, sculptor, master of decorative and applied art, whose work took place at the end of the 19th – beginning of the 20th centuries. The painting “Six-Winged Seraphim” (“Azrael”, “Angel with Sword and Censer”) was painted in a characteristic technique that he used to create other mythological works. Many critics believe that the poem “The Prophet” by Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin became the literary source that inspired the author, but the artist himself did not leave any indications of this.

The story of his last painting is like a revelation. Prone to nervous experiences, Mikhail Alexandrovich was greatly impressed when, in 1901, his son was born with an ugliness. The boy lived only two years. After his death, the painter fell into despondency, thought about suicide. At his own request, he was placed in a psychiatric clinic, where during the periods of enlightenment he created his “Azrael”.

The painting “Six-Winged Seraphim” by Mikhail Aleksandrovich Vrubel is considered the final chord of his philosophical quest. From fairy-tale characters, pagan plots and demons, the master moved on to mysticism, an understanding of the divine nature of being, a deep understanding of life and death.