Monday, March 15, 2010

Leon Bakst

LEON BAKST - Painter

Leon Samoilovitch Bakst, May 10 1866 - December 28, 1924. was a portrait painter who revolutionised the arts by working on and scene and costume designs.

Bakst studied at St Petersburg Academy of Arts as noncredit student, working part time as a book illustrator and worked as an art teacher for the children of Grand Duke of Russia.

He achieved international fame with his sets and costumes in which he combined bold designs and sumptuous colours with fine details to convey an atmosphere for his scene. Had also worked in magazines Zhupel, Adskaja, then for an art magazine called Apollon.

Bakst was elected a member of the Imperial Academy of Arts where he painted the all too-realistic "Pieta". After he returned to Russia after completing his studies in Paris and became a court painter.

In 1899, he cofounded with influential periodical Sergei Diaghilev where his graphics for his publication brought him fame and began designing scenery in 1900 for the Hermitage Court theatre then at the imperial theatres.

Set design for ballet "Schékhérazade"

Costume sketch for the ballet "Schékhérazade"

1906 Bakst went to Paris and began designing sets and costumes for Diaghilev's newly formed ballet company called the Ballets Russes. Worked on sets for Greek tragedies; In 1909 he produced scenery for Cleopatra and was chief set designer thereafter working on theatres such

as the Scheherazade and Carnaval in 1910 and La Spectre de la rose and Narcisse, both in 1911.

He was elected a member of the Imperial Academy of Arts in 1914 where he painted the all too-realistic "Pieta" and was expelled.

His designs for a London production of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty in 1921 are regarded as his greatest work.

Leon Bakst broke his relationship with Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes in 1922 and passed away in 1924 from lung problems.

His costumes and prints are going to be displayed at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London late in 2010.

Portrait of Sergey Diaghilev 1906

Terror antiquus 1908

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