Here in Russia tomorrow is the December 31 which is New Year’s Eve. So I would like to introduce a not so well-known work of Mikhail Vrubel (1856-1910). The painting is called Snow Maiden (1890) Original name of the picture is “Snegurochka” (“sneg” means “snow”) which is a name of a young girl, a fairytale charachter that has no apparent roots in traditional Slavic mythology and customs and its first appearance was recorded only in 19th century. According to one of the stories she was made of snow by an old couple who desperately wanted to have children but couldn’t. Their love brought her to life.
Since the Soviet times Snegurochka is depicted as the granddaughter and helper of Ded Moroz (the Russian version of Father Christmas) during the New Year parties and performances for children.
Here Snegurochka is depicted as a young girl. She is standing in the forest, everything is covered with snow, girl’s hair and dress is decorated with snowflakes. Here eyes are big and bright. She looks around with little surprise and delight. She looks at us with love.
A son of a military officer Vrubel studied law for several years and graduated University with honours. But law didn’t interest him at all. Apart from studying law Vrubel attended classes at the Imperial Academy of Arts in St Petersburg. Main themes of his art are Demonic themes. In 1902 Vrubel was diagnosed with mental illness.