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This picture is currently posted in the Tretyakov Gallery. For its writing, the stage image of the heroine of Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera “The Tale of Tsar Saltan” was used, set to the plot of Pushkin’s tale of the same name. Vrubel performed for the premiere of the opera of 1900 sketches for decoration and costumes, and the artist’s wife sang the part of the Princess Swans.
The most vivid “theatrical” creation of Vrubel, according to researchers, is the costumes and scenery for the production of the opera “Tale of Tsar Saltan” by Rimsky-Korsakov, the premiere of the tale was held in 1900 on the stage of the Private Opera. This helped the artist become more famous.
Impressed by the opera, he begins to paint the painting “The Swan Princess”, which was a stage portrait of Nadezhda Zabela-Vrubel. But the canvas does not depict the singer herself, but the mysterious image of the Princess, who was inspired by her lyrical and sincere singing.
As contemporaries recall, both the singer’s voice and appearance matched those fabulous and fantastic images that she had to embody on stage: her voice could not be compared with anything, it was even, light, tender and full of colors or alternating overflows one of the colors, he was very expressive, and at the same time calm .. And her appearance made me admire! Her wide-set eyes, captivating and at the same time naive smile, subtle and graceful body.
The painting was painted by the artist at Ge farm near the Pliski station in the Chernigov province in the summer of 1900. Vrubel portrayed his wife against the backdrop of the scenery he created for The Tale of Tsar Saltan, in a costume that he himself composed for the play. But the stage image in the picture became fabulous.
At the moment when the swan transforms into a gentle and mysterious beauty princess, the time seemed to freeze, and the light of sunset transformed reality, and it became unsteady and meaningful. And the big eyes of the Swan Princess sparkle like gems of a kokoshnik, the abundance and severity of which only make her fragile image more expressive.
Vrubel had a rare gift to see the music of color. As his wife said, mother-of-pearl shades, the coloring of which was used in The Swan Princess and other paintings of the artist, Vrubel could find pestilence in the theme of Rimsky-Korsakov’s music.