After the concert. Canvas, pastel, charcoal 168.5 x 191.5 cm
Nadezhda Ivanovna Zabela - beloved wife, a magnificent Russian singer and muse of Mikhail Alexandrovich Vrubel. It was a happy marriage, he adored his wife, created sketches of clothes and stage costumes for her, the scenery for the performances. And she was always with him, not leaving him in the days of severe mental illness. The artist painted many of her portraits in different images. And only this, the last image, remained unfinished.
In a high fireplace, decorated with carvings, bright yellow-orange, red lights burn coals. On the couch, standing next to him, the singer sits comfortably, enjoying the warmth. Leaning back and stretching out tired legs in elegant white high-heeled shoes, she rests on the high back with her right hand, bent at the elbow. The performance is over, and it is noticeable how tired the woman is resting in silence.
Turning her head slightly, she calmly poses for the artist, a soft smile lurking on her lips. A few locks of dark brown hair were pulled from a high, lush hairstyle. The dark color of the couch upholstery emphasizes the warm golden color of a thin face, a beautiful neckline. But the hidden sadness, carefully concealed excitement and anxiety for the beloved peeps through fatigue.
Confident black strokes painter draws the outlines of a concert dress, invented by him. A wide skirt, decorated with a frill, waves falls to the floor. However, through the dark lines peek out the gentle coral shades of the lower outfit. A translucent fabric, similar to a mosaic made of creamy white crystals, gives the upper dress airiness and weightlessness. A pearl brooch mysteriously flickers on the chest.
The soft, calm colors with which Mikhail Vrubel writes to his wife speak of the warmth of feelings, true love and gratitude. However, he is sick, his soul is torn, everything around him seems gloomy and tragic. The sharp, frequent strokes with which the artist fills the space around the figure of Nadezhda Ivanovna, sometimes very chaotic, carried out with strong pressure, add emotional tension and despair to the picture. Dark blue-green, dark swamp-brown colors fill the feeling of grief.
The artist’s vision deteriorated sharply, he almost did not distinguish colors, so he stopped working on the painting, leaving it unfinished.
The portrait leaves a double impression - on it, on the one hand, quiet tenderness and reverential admiration were mixed, and on the other, doom, loneliness and confusion of feelings.
The talent of Mikhail Vrubel is indisputable, his works, ambiguous, full of mysteries and charm, do not leave anyone indifferent.