In the mid-1890s, Vrubel received an order for a cycle of works for the Gothic-style office. The customer was one of the representatives of the famous Morozov dynasty.
The cycle of works includes the panel “Flight of Faust and Mephistopheles”, which is based on a medieval legend. The canvas combines Gothic pointed spiers, Baroque folds, modern and Vrubel’s understanding of space.
Modern is expressed in plane styling and transfer of space. Especially accurately transmitted flight scene. Here is an amazing perspective, and the complexity of the angle.
Night. A pair of shaggy horses rushes over a small medieval town. Manes fluttering in the wind. Mephistopheles sits astride a white-maned horse. He triumphantly turned to face Faust. The face of Faust is completely impassive and impenetrable. He sits in profile to the viewer, clinging to the horse’s mane. It is impossible to understand what he is thinking at this moment.
The whole picture is raised impressionistic strokes from the lower right corner. Here the thistle, Faust’s cloak, which has just been unhooked from the burdock, the toe of the boot is lowered here and the sword is hidden in the folds of the clothes. All these contacts are displayed exactly on the horizon, on the eye line of the viewer. Mephistopheles looks not only at Faust, but also in this corner, where he can meet his gaze with a real observer.
Vrubel’s precision for details makes a truly witnessed event out of a fantastic picture. Many lines that should be continuous are only indicated by a dotted line.
In the foreground of the canvas, the artist depicted huge thistle bushes. From this, the mystical scene from the medieval legend acquires some sinister realism.
In general, the work is common for Vrubel, an artist who has never stopped at one genre.