Vrubel’s painting is based on the Demon from Mikhail Lermontov’s 1885 poem about a demon in love with a Georgian princess. The demon’s kiss is fatal, yet the princess is saved while the demon is doomed to eternal solitude. Vrubel described the Demon as “A spirit which unites in itself the male and female appearances, a spirit which is not so much evil as suffering and wounded, but withal a powerful and noble being.” He returned to this theme in later paintings.
Another notable work of Russian symbolism. Vrubel worked with a palette-knife that lends the painting its mosaic quality.