oil on canvas
750 х 1400
The mural is produced in the style of Art Nouveau. The artist was inspired by Edmond Rostand's play suggested by a legend of the knight age. Prince and poet Jouffroy Rudel learns from pilgrims's stories about princess Melisande, who lives far beyond the sea. Having fallen in love with la belle dame, the prince dedicated to her poems and songs. Having a presentiment of near death, he embarks on a journey to find his dream. The ship seems to be soaring over the waves. In the centre is the dying prince, a lyre in his hand. Standing by the ship's mast is his friend, knight and poet Bertrand. To the right are pirates, moved by the intensity of the prince's love; What they have witnessed will subsequently turn them into crusaders, knights of the spirit. In the last moments of his life, the hero sings a song about his reverie, princess Melisande. The entire world – Nature's elements and people's souls alike - are caught by the sounds of lofty music. At this instant, beauty triumphs in the world and a miracle takes place: the ravishing princess bends over the poet's brow.
The painting personified the idea of art's timelessness, its spiritual power over the temporal world.
The mural was commissioned from the artist by S.I.Mamontov for the decoration of the pavilion Art Department of the 1896 Nizhny Novgorod exhibition.
Vrubel chose the theme of the play by French poet and playwright E.Rostand "The Princess of the Dream" ("La Princesse lointaine")(1895), based on a medieval knight legend.
Vrubel produced one more mural for the arts pavilion: "Mikula Selyaninovich", which praised the strength of the Russian land.
The exhibition panel rejected both murals; it was not until they were brought to Moscow that they were completed by the artists V.D.Polenov and K.A.Korovin under the guidance of Vrubel
at 10, Lavrushinsky Lane, Hall 33