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Entries / Benois А.N., (1870-1960), artist

Benois А.N., (1870-1960), artist

Categories / Art/Fine Arts/Personalia
Categories / Tsarskoe Selo and town of Pushkin. The digital chronological reference book/Pushkin personality

BENOIS Alexander Nikolaevich (1870, St. Petersburg – 1960), painter, graphic artist, stage designer, art historian and critic. Son of N. L. Benois. He studied in K. I. May’s Gymnasium in 1885-90 and at the Faculty of Law in Petersburg University in 1890-94. He also studied painting under his brother Albert N. Benois. He worked in France from 1896 to1898 and 1905 to 1907. He was one of the major founders and ideologists of the association and magazine, World of Art. He founded and edited Russia’s Art Treasures, a monthly magazine, in 1901-03 and wrote for Starye Gody in 1907-1913. He also contributed to Rech Newspaper by keeping a weekly critical column, Belles Letters, in 1908-17. He was the author of the following books: The History of the Russian Painting in the 19th Century written in St. Petersburg in 1902, ten issues of The Russian Painting School written in St. Petersburg in 1904-06, and four volumes of The History of Painting of All Times and Peoples, written in St. Petersburg in 1912-17, the latter published incompletely. In his paintings, he derived inspiration from history and folklore drawing on stories from the 18th and the first quarter of the 19th centuries. He created a series of gouaches devoted to Russian history, where the bygone culture of the nobility was ironically idealised, such as Parade under Pavel I painted in 1907 and Peter the Great Walking in the Summer Garden painted in 1910, both exhibited in the State Russian Museum. He also painted landscapes of St. Petersburg and suburbs, as well as Versailles, Bretagne, Crimea, southern France, Italy, and Switzerland. He initiated, together with other members of the World of Art, a new Russian school of iconography, his most prominent works including illustrations for Alexander Pushkin’s Queen of Spades in 1899 and 1910, Bronze Horseman in 1903-22, and Captain’s Daughter in 1904 and 1919. He designed the scenery of Armida’s Pavilion composed by N. N. Cherepnin and directed by M. M. Fokine in the Mariinsky Theatre in 1907. He was the chief designer of S. P. Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in 1909 and the art director of the Moscow Art Theatre in 1913-15. He took part in working out a state program for protecting monuments of art and history in 1917 and worked as a curator and the head of the State Hermitage’s picture gallery in 1918-26. He painted scenes for Petrograd’s theatres, including Peter Tchaikovsky’s Queen of Spades for the Mariinsky Theatre in 1919-20, C. Goldoni’s Servant of Two Masters for the Bolshoy Drama Theatre in 1921, etc. He settled in France in 1926 to work as the chief designer of Ida Rubinstein’s company and cooperate with Paris theatres and La Scala, Milan, in 1947-56. He wrote his memoirs and created a wide panorama of literary, artistic, and theatrical life in pre-revolutionary St. Petersburg. He lived in his father’s house at 15 Glinki Street, 56 First Line of Vasilievsky Island in 1905-07, 31 Admiralteysky Canal Embankment in 1908-14, and 38 First Line of Vasilievsky Island in 1915-17. See also Benois Family Museum.

Works: My Reminiscences written in five books, the second supplemented edition published in Moscow in 1990; My Diary: 1916-1917-1918, published in Moscow in 2003.

Reference: Александр Бенуа размышляет... М., 1968; Эткинд М. Г. Александр Николаевич Бенуа, 1870-1960. Л.; М., 1960; Его же. А. Н. Бенуа и русская художественная культура конца XIX - начала ХХ века. Л., 1989.

O. L. Leikind, D. Y. Severyukhin.

Benois Albert Nikolaevich
Benois Alexander Nikolaevich
Benois Nikolay Leontievich
Cherepnin Nikolay Nikolaevich
Dyagilev Sergey Pavlovich
Fokin Mikhail Mikhailovich
Goldoni Carlo
May Karl Ivanovich
Paul (Pavel) I, Emperor
Peter I, Emperor
Pushkin Alexander Sergeevich
Rubinstein Ida Lvovna
Tchaikovsky Peter Ilyich

1st Line of Vasilievsky Island/Saint Petersburg, city, house 56
1st Line of Vasilievsky Island/Saint Petersburg, city, house 38
Admiralteysky Canal Embankment/Saint Petersburg, city, house 31
Glinka St./Saint Petersburg, city, house 15

Эткинд М. Г. Александр Николаевич Бенуа, 1870-1960. Л.; М., 1960
Эткинд М. Г. А. Н. Бенуа и русская художественная культура конца XIX – начала ХХ века. Л., 1989
Александр Бенуа размышляет… М., 1968
Мои воспоминания: В 5 кн. 2-е изд., доп. М., 1993

The subject Index
May's Gymnasium
State University, St. Petersburg
World of Art, Association
Mir Iskusstva (World of Art), journal
Starye Gody (The Bygone Years), journal
Khudozhestvennye Sokrovishcha Rossii (The Art Treasures of Russia), album
Rech (The Speech), newspaper
Mariinsky Theatre
Tovstonogov Bolshoy Drama Theatre