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"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.

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