\A Russian silver, parcel gilt, and en plein enamel cigarette case, Moscow, 1893. Of rectangular form with rounded corners, the hinged lid decorated with a scene from Mikhail Lermontov’s poem “The Demon” after Mihàly Zichy’s circa 1881 illustrations. Struck with unidentified Cyrillic maker’s mark V.A, possibly Akimov, and 84 silver standard. Dimensions: 3 3/4 in. x 3 in. (9.5 x 7.6 cm).
Mihàly Zichy (1827-1906), a favorite painter of Emperor Alexander II, who named him a Court Artist, depicts a passage from Lermontov’s poem “The Demon.” The Romantic work inspired many important 19th-century Russian artists, or artists working in Russia. One of Mikhail Vrubel’s greatest masterpieces, Demon Seated (1890, Tretyakov Gallery), was part of a larger cycle dedicated to the work. Like Zichy, Konstantin Makovsky (1839-1915), one of the most popular artists of Late Imperial Russia, also illustrated a number of the poem’s most important passages. Many of these images were produced for or inspired by luxury jubilee editions of the poem printed in 1891.
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