In love with antiquity and oriental art, Lev Bakst combined the extravagance of Art Nouveau with a sense of proportion and common sense - this rare combination brought him worldwide fame.
Bakst became famous not only as a theater artist, but also as a painter, as a portrait painter, as a master of book and magazine illustration, an interior designer and creator of haute couture of the 1910s, close to the fashion houses of Paken, Chanel and Poiret. Bakst also designed jewelry, bags, wigs and other fashion accessories, wrote articles on contemporary art, design and dance, lectured in Russia, Europe and America on fashion and contemporary art, wrote an autobiographical novel full of intriguing details, was fond of photography and at the end life showed great interest in cinema …
A lot of talents for one person, right? All visitors to the grandiose anniversary exhibition, which has become a reflection of all the feelings and thoughts of the Great Artist, can get acquainted with the art creations and plunge into the languidly elegant world of the beginning of the last century.
Under the antique vaults of the State Museum of Fine Arts named after A. S. Pushkin for the first time brought together about two hundred and fifty works of painting, original and printed graphics, photographs, archival documents, rare books, as well as stage costumes and sketches for fabrics.
The exhibition includes works from state and private Russian and Western collections. Many of them are being demonstrated for the first time in Russia. Works presented at the exhibition at the Pushkin Museum im. A. S. Pushkin, cover a number of the most important topics for the artist: landscapes, portraits, panels, fashionable toilets and fabrics, and, of course, the theater, which is devoted to the main part of the exhibition.
Among the theatrical works, the most extravagant are the costumes for Ida Rubinstein as Salome for Dance of the Seven Veils (1908, State Tretyakov Gallery) and as Cleopatra for the ballet of the same name (1909, SPbGMTiMI; donated by the Konstantinovsky International Charitable Foundation in 2013; from Nikita's collection and Nina Lobanov-Rostovskikh); costumes sketches for "Boeotian" (circa 1911, St. Petersburg State Museum of Fine Arts) and "Bacchae" (1911, Center Pompidou, Paris) for the ballet "Narcissus"; a sketch of a costume for Vaslav Nijinsky as Faun for the ballet The Afternoon of a Faun (1912, private collection, Paris); a sketch of the costume “Young men accompanying Orpheus to the temple” for the ballet “Orpheus” (1914, The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts); costume design for "Columbine" for the ballet "The Sleeping Princess" (1921, Victoria and Albert Museum, London).
The attention of fashionistas, of course, first of all, will be attracted by a bright parade of costumes created according to Bakst's sketches: the Museum of the Academy of Russian Ballet named after A. Ya. Vaganova showed the famous costume of Vaslav Nijinsky as the Phantom of the Rose, the St. Petersburg State Museum of Theatrical and Musical Art provided four costumes: a Japanese doll for Vera Trefilova for the ballet "Fairy of Dolls", costumes for the ballets "Cleopatra", "Carnival", "Daphnis and Chloe. " The famous Russian fashion historian Alexander Vasiliev - more than 10 exhibits from his collection: fashionable dresses and theatrical costumes of the 1910-1920s for the ballets Tamara, Scheherazade, The Sleeping Princess.
The opening of the exhibition took place in an atmosphere of chic and splendor of a secular evening with the participation of celebrities.
And the main partner of the art project - the XVI Open Arts Festival "Cherry Forest", has prepared an amazing surprise - a capsule collection of couture dresses from designer Antonio Marras, inspired by Bakst's everlasting creativity.
Director of the Pushkin Museum. A. S. Pushkina Marina Loshak admitted that colossal efforts have been invested in the exhibition that has opened and very high hopes have been placed.
- We tried to make it a story about an artist who created the world of beauty, who tried to reject stamps in order to make the world around him more beautiful, in order to include absolutely all the colors that seemed important to him in his drawing. I congratulate us on the opening of the exhibition.
The exhibition will show 250 extremely rare works received by us with the help of our friends from the main museum institutions not only in Russia, but also from France, from the Georges Pompidou Center, from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, from private collections in Europe. Just as Bakst embroidered, paint by paint, his own fabrics, we also tried to make a pattern for this exhibition. I hope that all our efforts will be justified when you enter our main hall and say "Ah!", Because we did everything to make this "Ah!" happened.
Exhibition “Lev Bakst / Léon Bakst. On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of his birth”was opened at the State Museum of Fine Arts named after A. S. Pushkin until September 4.