World of Art

The World of Art (Mir iskusstva) played an important role in Russian culture at the turn of the century. This was the name of both a group of artists and the periodical it published. The history and way of life of Holy Russia and eighteenth-century Europe were themes developed by Alexander Benois, Yevgeny Lanceray, Mstislav Dobuzhinsky and Konstantin Somov.

These artists did more than just bring gallantry and refinement together with humour and the grotesque in Russian art. They also expanded the thematic borders of art and its influence on other forms of creativity. The design of book covers and stage sets became one of the most important activities of the members of the World of Art. They created the gorgeous sets and costumes for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes that revolutionised world theatrical design at the turn of the century. Theatrical passions clearly reflected on the stylistics of easel art in the works of masters who helped to design stage sets – artists like Léon Bakst and Alexander Golovin.

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