Gouache on cardboard
49,6 х 51,4
State Russian Museum
Le Bain de la Marquise is s connected thematically, if not topographically, to Alexander Benois’ Versailles series. It depicts the artist’s beloved 18th century. Is it Versailles? Yes, if Versailles is taken to imply all that is reﬁned, enigmatic, beautiful, prophetic and typical of the 18th century. For contemporaries, did more than just personify their fantasies of the distant past. Baron Nikolai Wrangel wrote: “Somov and Benois well understood that the inaccessible will always be desired. They resurrected these puppets that we found sweet in their distance from us and let them into the world of the living. The awe inspiring nudity of their bodies and their ugly faces are particularly exquisite and attractive. Indeed, modern man cannot imagine a Temptress or a Dream with classical features.”
Benois, Alexander Nikolaevich
1870, St Petersburg - 1960, Paris
Graphic artist, painter, theatrical designer, art historian. Studied under brother Albert Benois, at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1887-1888) and at the Faculty of Law, St Petersburg University (1890-1894). Member of the World of Art (1899; founding member), Union of Russian Artists (1903) and the Salon d'Automne (1906). Contributed to the exhibitions of the Society of Russian Watercolourists (1891-1896), Sergei Makovsky Salon (1909), International Exhibitions in Munich (1898), Rome (1911), Malmo (1914) and the Exhibitions of Russian Art in Paris (1906, 1910) and Berlin (1906). Designed for the Mariinsky Theatre, Vera Komissarzhevskaya Theatre and the Starinny Theatre in St Petersburg, Moscow Arts Theatre, Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, Ida Rubinstein Ballet Company, Teatro Real de Madrid, Theatre des Champs Elysees and Theatre National de L'Opera in Paris. Curator of the Hermitage Picture Gallery (1918-1926). Member of the Commission for the Protection of Monuments of Art and Antiques. Edited the Art Treasures of Russia magazine (1901-1903). Emigrated to Paris (1926).