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Vrubel's Demon Seated : Deconstructed

Updated: Sep 9, 2020

Looking back at the art scene of the 19th century, Symbolism stands out as one of the most important art movements, where artists chose to depict their own emotions and ideas through their paintings rather than represent the natural world in its objective form. This developed as a reaction against the concepts of Realism and Impressionism that had come to dominate Western Europe at that time. Even though it started out as a literary movement, it was soon taken up by a generation of younger artists who believed in the significance of one’s inner subjectivity.

The Symbolist movement took birth in Europe in the 1880s and soon branched out to Russia where it lasted for approximately 20 years, giving rise to two generations of painters: the first generation from 1890 to 1900 and the second one from 1900 to 1910. The movement in went on to spawn a third generation of artists, who worked their way into the second decade of the 20th century. One of the most prominent names to come up in the first generation was Mikhail Vrubel (1856-1910), who was one of the first painters of his time to incorporate mystical elements into his work.