"The Six-Winged Seraph" (1904)
In this painting, Vrubel uses an image derived from Alexander
Pushkin's poem "The Prophet" (1826). In Pushkin's poem,
the figure of the poet is described as dragging himself
through a spiritual desert. He is met by a six-winged seraph
who touches the poet's eyes, ears and lips, opening to him
the mysteries of the world, normally hidden from human eyes.
Finally, he rips out the poet's heart and replaces it with
a burning coal. After this operation, the poet hears the
voice of god who tells him: "Arise, poet, and see, hear/Fulfill
my will/And passing through the land and seas/Ignite the
souls of man with words." The notion of the artist as the
mediating force between the phenomenal and noumenal worlds
was immensely popular among the symbolists.