Benois, Alexandre [Benua, Aleksandr Nikolayevich]
- Manfred Boetzkes
[Benua, Aleksandr Nikolayevich]
(b St Petersburg, 21 April/May 3, 1870; d Paris, Feb 9, 1960). Russian stage designer, director and art historian. He was one of a neo-Romantic group of St Petersburg artists (including Diaghilev, Bakst and Nuvel) associated with the journal Mir iskusstvo (1898–1905). After graduating in law he lived in France for a time. In his writings and as an artist, he tried to promote the understanding of both western European modernism and the national Russian cultural tradition. Thanks to his and Diaghilev’s propagandist work, from 1899 the stage designs at the St Petersburg court theatres began to reflect trends in contemporary Russian painting, a process that Benois attempted to intensify and accelerate with his own designs (as in those for Götterdämmerung, Mariinsky Theatre, 1902). He played an important part in the Russian opera and ballet guest season in Paris in 1908 (organized by the ...