Tuesday, February 2, 2010

And the answer is....

Let's review our guessing game...Here is the photo of the three figurines I purchased at the antiques show. I received 6 guesses:
1. Three Magi
2. Santons
3.Turkish ballerinas
4. Russians, maybe dancers
5. Statuettes of the wives of the three wisemen/kings, dancing they were so happy the husbands were out of the house
6. Petrushka peasant costumes. Designer: Benois or it also may be Scheharazade. Costumes: Bakst.

That last answer already assumes that we have the initial answer which is that they are maquettes of dancers in costume from the Ballets Russes, circa 1920s. For those of you who aren't balletomanes, the Ballets Russes (literally "The Russian Ballets") was an itinerant company founded by Serge Diaghilev in 1909. Many of the patrons and dancers were exiled Russians who gathered in Paris after the revolution in 1917. Here is a quip from Wikipedia: "The company featured and premiered now-famous (and sometimes notorious) works by the great choreographers Marius Petipa, Michel Fokine, as well as new works by Bronislava Nijinska, Léonide Massine, Vaslav Nijinsky, and the young George Balanchine at the start of his career.

The company's productions, which combined new dance, art and music, created a huge sensation around the world, altering the course of musical history, bringing many significant visual artists into the public eye, and completely reinvigorating the art of performing dance. The Ballets Russes was one of the most influential theatre companies of the twentieth century, in part because of its ground-breaking artistic collaboration among contemporary choreographers, composers, artists, and dancers. Its ballets have been variously interpreted as Classical, Neo-Classical, Romantic, Neo-Romantic, Avant-Garde, Expressionist, Abstract, and Orientalist. The influence of the Ballets Russes lasts to this day in one form or another."

Diaghilev's brilliance was in bringing together artists from every spectrum to produce a masterpiece--from Stravinsky to Picasso, Gustave Moreau to Coco Chanel--any aspiring artist who was becoming important in the 1920s worked for Diaghilev.

So here are photos pertaining to the two possibilities. The first is of the principal characters in Petrushka, costumes be Alexandre Benois. My maquettes would not be of these characters, but you get the idea...

The following two images are paintings by Leon Bakst for characters in Scheharazade. My guess is that this is the correct answer. Look at the earrings on the "Sorcerer," even they look like the ones on my maquette!

Thanks for participating in my guessing game! To see more wonderful images from the Ballets Russes, I recommend this book just published in December. See you next time!

1 comment:

Parisienne Farmgirl said...

Just found your blog and put you on my sidebar. Love the figurines...don't know if I have ever commented before but wanted to say Bonjour... ironically I have Chet Baker playing on my blog this week!

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