The Swan Princess (1900)
Mikhail Vrubel (1856-1910) is one of the most mystical and romantic Russian painters.
He began his artistic career as an adult and cultivated man. He soon gained success, yet he had little need of glory. What interested him was the creative process, the moment of artistic inspiration. Vrubel was among the very first Russian artists to embark on the path of symbolism, he may be considered the founding father of the modern Russian style. He brought a new type of artist into the cultural life of Russia – that of a universal artist. Vrubel painted large panels, and cathedral walls, created stained-glass artworks, painted illustrations and ex-libris, imagined theatrical decorations, studied applied arts, sculpture and architecture.
The Swan Princess is the result of the painter’s work on the set for the musical show inspired by Tsar Saltan’s Story, a poem by Alexander Pushkin, which premiered at the private opera of Savva Mamontov, a famous patron of the arts. Vrubel was hired to create sets and costume sketches, while his wife, singer Nadezhda Zabela-Vrubel, sang the part of the Princess.
Of all the characters it is The Swan Princess, the mysterious woman-bird that particularly interested the artist. Hot and cold, water and air, light and dark – this natural dualism attracted the attention of the painter. The magic character, the combinations of incompatible elements became his main messages. He knew how to capture the essence of the magic moment, that of transformation. Look carefully at the face of the Princess: her large expressive eyes already display avian traits; her lips are about to turn into the beak. The silk and the feathers of the clothes are masterfully painted. Many poets admired the painting, and the painter’s colleagues studied it seriously in order to understand the secret of the mother-of-pearl texture, the imperceptible movements and the mixture of colors.
It is said that it was the wife of the painter who served as a model for The Swan Princess. They met for the first time at the opera. Contemporaries said that her voice was «incomparable, very homogeneous, light, soft as a flute and full of colors». The artist, enchanted, found her backstage. Thus began a love story, which was one of the most romantic and tragic in Russian art. Fifteen years later, suffering from an atrocious mental illness, during moments of lucidity he wrote to his wife in his last letters: «My beautiful, my treasure, idol, mia farfalla, allodola». However, it is very likely that the face of the Princess is actually a combination of real and mythical traits, coming from the memory, imagination and talent of the great Russian painter.
90% Merlot – 10% Cabernet Franc
Soil type: Sand & Clay
Harvesting: 100% manual
Vinification methods: Soft, slow maceration and fermentation Pumping over Malolactic fermentation in barrels
Ageing: 100% new Radoux Blend barrels
Cultivation practices: Reasoned viticulture (Lutte raisonnée). Manual vineyard work. Mechanical weed control
This vintage is marked by woody aromas and bitter notes of dark chocolate. Bringing flavors of spice, vanilla, licorice, cinnamon and nutmeg, the new oak fits well into the rich cherry-blackberry-blueberry cocktail. Aromatic herbal notes complete the bouquet. The wine is juicy, expressive and dense.