- Russian Ballet in Caricatures
- Mikhail Mikhailovich Fokine
- Tamara Karsavina
- Enrico Cecchetti
- Marie M. Petipa
- Marius Petipa
- Bugaboo: Journal of Artistic Satire
- "October Idyll"
- "Hey little toy soldiers, brave boys! So where is your glory now?”
- "Once the Great and Most Glorified Tsar Dadon..."
- Russian Tsars in Epigrams. (Library of Satire and Humor.)
- Day is Breaking: Daily Artistic, Literary and Satirical Journal
- Photograph from the set for the David Lean film Doctor Zhivago
Νikolaĭ Gustavovich Legat, 1869-1937, and Sergieĭ Gustavovich Legat, 1875-1905.
Рускій балетъ въ карикатурахъ.
[Russian Ballet in Caricatures.]
Saint Petersburg: [s.n.], 1902-1905.
The Legat brothers were directly involved in Russian ballet around the turn of the century, and their caricatures captured most of the pivotal figures in the performing arts in Saint Petersburg. Nikolai Gustavovich was ballet master for the company that was part of the Imperial (also named the Mariinsky) Theater, and was ballet master for Diaghilev’s Ballets russes in 1925-26. His brother Sergei Gustavovich, primarily a dancer, also worked with the Imperial Ballet. These caricatures capture the humorous side of ballet personalities, most of whom had professional associations with the Imperial Theater or Ballets russes. This is one of three known copies in the United States having a complete set of plates.
Fokine began his career at the Imperial Theater as a dancer (debuting there at age 18), but also served as a choreographer, composer, and set designer. In 1905 he choreographed the solo “Dying Swan” for Anna Pavlova. He was chief choreographer for Ballets russes from 1909-1914, and left because he felt that he was being outshadowed by Nijinsky. From 1918 he worked with companies in both the U.S. and Europe, including the American Ballet Theater.
Karsavina studied with the Imperial Ballet and was leading ballerina of Ballets russes from 1909 to 1922, serving as Vaclav Nijinsky’s partner until 1913. After she married and moved to London, she contributed to the founding of the Royal Academy of Dancing. She also coached Dame Margot Fonteyn.
Italian by birth, Cecchetti was known in Europe as an excellent ballet “technician.” He moved to the Imperial Theater in the late 1800s and remained until 1902, teaching gifted artists such as Vaslav Nijinsky, Tamara Karsavina, Olga Preobrazhenska, Anna Pavlova, and Serge Lifar. Although he served as official instructor of Ballets russes from 1910-18, he left in 1913 to tour with Pavlova. He later founded a school in London, and then directed ballet at La Scala. His legacy includes the Cecchetti method of ballet training.
The daughter of Marius Ivanovich Petipa, Marie Petipa was trained by her father and joined the Imperial Ballet, debuting in 1875. She danced in many of her father’s productions and was a leading character dancer. She was married to Sergei Legat.
Petipa began dancing at the Imperial Theater in 1847 and became Chief Choreographer in 1869. During his long career there he produced more than 60 ballets. He was married first to Maria Surovshchikova, and then to Liubov’ Leonidova. In this caricature he carries a banner that reads “Petersburg Ballet.”
Zinovi Isaevich Grzhebin, 1877-1929, editor.
Жупелъ: журналъ художественной сатиры.
[Bugaboo: Journal of Artistic Satire.]
Saint Petersburg: S. P. IUritsyn,1905.
The turn of the century was a time of political upheaval. On January 8, 1905, Father Georgii Gapon led 150,000 workers and marched to the tsar’s residence at the Winter Palace. Holding holy banners and portraits, they hoped to present a petition to the tsar. The tsar was away, and the police opened fire, killing over 1,000 demonstrators. The event was henceforth referred to as “Bloody Sunday.” The intelligentsia published scores of satirical journals between 1905 and 1907, and artists used them as vehicles for the expression of their political points of view. The artists who contributed to them were those who were participating in new art societies and workshops, and who were looking for new means of artistic expression. Shown are three such satirical works which appeared in Bugaboo.
Issue 2, 1905:
Mstislav Valerianovich Dobuzhinskiῐ, 1875-1957.
Dobuzhinsky’s artwork frequently used the urban environment, and specifically Saint Petersburg, as its subject. This was the artist’s commentary on Bloody Sunday.
Issue 2, 1905:
Valentin Aleksandrovich Serov, 1865-1911.
"Солдатушки, бравы ребятушки! Гдѣ-же ваша слава?”
["Hey little toy soldiers, brave boys! So where is your glory now?”]
Serov captured the events of Bloody Sunday in a more figurative way.
Issue 1, 1905:
Ivan IAkovlevich Bilibin, 1876-1942.
"Единажды Великій и Преславный Царь Дадонъ, с сыномъ своимъ, славнымъ и могучимъ богатыремъ, преславнымъ Княземъ Дадономъ Дадоновичемъ..."
["Once the Great and Most Glorified Tsar Dadon, together with his son, the glorious and mighty knight,
the most glorified Prince Dadon, son of Dadon..."]
Mainly a book and periodical illustrator, Bilibin became an active member of Benois and Diaghilev’s “World of Art” in about 1900. His artwork relied on Russian motifs, but his use of complex patterns and designs along the picture plane was unique, and reflected the fascination in Europe and Russia with both Japanese and Chinese art. On the cover of Issue 1 for the year 1905 of the satirical journal Bugaboo he depicts a Russian fairytale with a satirical twist.
Русские цари в эпиграммах. (Библиотека сатира и юмора.)
[Russian Tsars in Epigrams. (Library of Satire and Humor.)]
Moscow and Leningrad: Land and Factory, 1926.
Nine years after the October revolution, previously censored material was being published for the first time. This volume contains humorous epigrams by famous Russian writers about the tsars.
A. P. Khotulev, editor.
Свѣтаетъ: еженедѣльный художественный, литературый и сатирическій журналъ.
[Day is Breaking: Daily Artistic, Literary and Satirical Journal.]
Saint Petersburg: G. M. Narushkin, 1906.
When political change was promised and failed, the journals carried commentary on that as well. In response to a general strike in October 1905, the tsar promised to issue a constitution. The promise was not kept, and this unsigned commentary was published. The full-page cartoon is entitled “All Freedoms, Born October 17- Died October 17.” On the tombstones are carved “Here lies freedom of speech,” “Here lies freedom of the press,” “Here lies the right to assembly,” etc.