The painting “Tamara and the Demon” is nothing more than one of the illustrations to Lermontov’s poem “The Demon”, written by Mikhail Vrubel in the 1890-91s.
The entire composition of the picture was created using only black watercolor and white on light brown paper.
The scenery of the composition is painted carpets and a bed, and the picture itself depicts a reclining girl with long black hair braided in braids – Tamara, trying to cover her face with brittle hands. She is wearing a dress and a white scarf covering her head. At this time, the Demon, who is sitting nearby, is trying to look into her eyes. Demon’s hair is very dark, long and wavy, and facial features are very strict, especially pronounced eyes.
Using only black paint and whitewash, the artist was able to create a work that possesses the beauty of the picture, written with a whole palette of colors. It draws attention to itself and makes it necessary to consider in detail all its details. The picture has the very completeness that so often makes the observer admire.
According to the artist, people often do not understand the essence of the Demon, identifying it with the familiar concepts of “devil” and “hell.” But in translation “devil” means “slanderer,” and “devil” means “horned.” And the translation for the word “demon” is “soul.” Thus, the demon is the personification of the endless struggle of the spirit of a person who is tormented by a multitude of doubts and raging passions.
After this work and other illustrations to the work of Lermontov, the artist preferred not to return to the theme of “The Demon” for a while, but over time this topic became his main one. And subsequently, Vrubel created many paintings and sketches with similar subjects that amaze and fascinate. Having taken already well-known ideas as a basis, he painted pictures, reflecting his views in them, and adding something completely unusual to each. That is why the work of this person is considered the property of Russian culture.