His canvases strike one by their harmony and contrast. Actuality is turned into fantasy, while the power of his brush gives fantasy a tangible validity. Form in Vrubel’s paintings is not only voluminous, but is “diamond-cut” like precious stones. Vrubel’s “diamond-cutting” is intended to expose in-depth essence of the subject, revealed to the painter’s prophetic vision. A specific twilight color scheme blankets the world of his pictures in the haze of unraveled mystery.
Erasing the difference between the natural and the magic, the real and the imaginary, Mikhail Vrubel endows his images, inspired by poetry, legends and fairytales, with a new, universal and at times cosmic meaning. His strongly symbolic canvases appear at times as revelations.
The Swan Princess (1900) is evasively and inexpressibly beautiful in her glimmering garments shining with mother-of-pearl and sparkling with precious stones.
The composition is so constructed as to give the impression of glancing into a fairy-tale world where a magic swan-maiden has just appeared and is about to disappear again, floating away towards a distant mysterious shore. The last beams of sunshine play on her snowy white feathers, producing a rainbow of colours. The maiden is turning, her delicate face looks sad, and there is a mysterious mixture of melancholy and loneliness in her eyes. The Swan Princess is one of Vrubel's most enticing and heartfelt feminine images.