Leon Bakst And The Ballet Russes

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Leon Bakst’s momentous involvement in the recognition of the Ballet Russes profoundly influenced twentieth century designers in fashion and textiles. Although his works for the Ballet seems to eclipse all activities in his life outside it; he was previously a fine artist who intended to pursue a career as an illustrator and artist. Bakst went on to work for Serge Diaghilev who founded the Ballet Russes; here he designed extraordinary set and exotic costume during the height of its fame, and revolutionised the way theatre was delivered. Bakst was part of a young generation of creatives who rebelled against pedantic Realism of the 19th century and helped establish a new form of art and theatre. His role in instituting Orientalism into vogue influenced…show more content…
Petersburg students who formed an intellectual art group who informally named themselves; ‘Nevsky Pickwickians’. It is here in this art group that Bakst met Serge Diaghilev, who later influenced his art and life. This meeting and eventual collaboration forever changed the world of fashion. In 1898, members of The Nevsky Pickwickians moved back to Russia and founded the journal Mir iskusstva (World of Art). The journal focussed on bringing European art to Russia and held many exhibitions to educate society about issues in the artistic sphere. In 1905-1906 World of Art exhibitions, Bakst became known for the settings which he created for them. He illustrated many visuals for their magazine, drawing him praise and popularity. Until the end of the century, he continued to paint and receive commissions, the most famous is the portrait of the dancer Isadora Duncan in ink, dating from her Russian tour in 1908, is typical of his works depicting sensual and flowing movement. Through influence of Mir iskusstva Bakst was attracted to oriental style; and motifs from ancient Greece and Egypt, this influence soon became signatures in his paintings and theoretical work. Bakst influenced and developed Art Nouveau style by bringing in a curvy line, as well as bright colours, oriental prints, and flowing drapes. Diaghilev then went on to become the impresario of the Ballet Russes, and employed Bakst to create costume and set design. There was no specialist training for theatre design, so Bakst adapted his artistic skills to excel in this area. This amazing collaboration gave its first performance in 1909. Until Diaghilev 's death in 1929, the company continued as one of the period 's most influential performing arts establishments of the 20th century. Its success was due, in no small part, to the participation of Bakst, who designed sets and costumes for many of its productions. The most important period of his professional life is described in
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