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Drawing, Costume Design: Two Pirates, for Daphnis et Chloe

This is a Drawing. It was designed by Léon Bakst and created by Leon Nikojajevitsch Rosenberg. It is dated 1913 and we acquired it in 1947. Its medium is brush and watercolor, graphite on illustration board. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

The energetic tension of these dangerous looking brigands, their exotic appeal and wildly patterned textiles are all signature traits of work by the great costume and stage set designer Léon Bakst. The Jewish Russian artist began designing for the legendary Ballets Russes in 1909, at the age of 43. The dance company amazed audiences with its radical choreography, inventive music and extraordinary sets and costumes. Bakst rejected the stifling tradition of dressing dancers in pink tights and satin ballet shoes or heavily ornamented costumes. Instead, his designs used flowing textiles that were intended to accentuate the movements of the performers and extending their gestures into space. Bakst’s drawings nearly always depict the models in sensuous motion rather than in static poses. Drawings after his costumes circulated, and became tremendously influential on fashion and textile design. Bakst had several of his designs for the ballet copyrighted in 1913.The design for two pirate costumes was made for the classical themed ballet Daphnis etChloé, a love story between a shepherd and shepherdess, first performed by the Ballets Russes in Paris, 1912.

This object was featured in our Object of the Week series in a post titled Ballet Brigands.

This object was donated by Mrs. G. Macculloch Miller. It is credited Gift of Mrs. G. Macculloch Miller.

Its dimensions are

26.8 x 39.5 cm (10 9/16 x 15 9/16 in. )

It is signed

Signed in graphite, lower center: Bakst/1913.

It is inscribed

Inscribed in graphite, lower right: Daphnis et Chloe/Brigand avec archets/Bakst/1913.

Cite this object as

Drawing, Costume Design: Two Pirates, for Daphnis et Chloe; Leon Nikojajevitsch Rosenberg; Designed by Léon Bakst (Russian, born Belarus, 1866–1924); France; brush and watercolor, graphite on illustration board; 26.8 x 39.5 cm (10 9/16 x 15 9/16 in. ); Gift of Mrs. G. Macculloch Miller; 1947-77-2

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Drawing, Costume Design: Two Pirates, for Daphnis et Chloe |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=27 March 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>