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Leon (or “Leo”) Samoilovich Bakst was one of the most talented scenographers and artists of the turn of the century.
Proving himself for the first time in the Art World art association, where he worked alongside his friend Alexander Benois, Bakst was rapidly gaining popularity in pictorial circles with his successful graphic sketches, book illustrations, sketches for theatrical productions of many theaters and, of course, amazing in its simplicity portraits.
Leo Samoilovich constantly existed among the brilliant domestic intelligentsia - poets, writers, artists - and many of them were destined to remain captured by the brush of their talented friend.
Zinaida Gippius was no exception. The famous poetess, known for her shocking behavior throughout the cultural capital, is depicted by Bakst freely sitting on a chair in an unusual costume. This is an old men's outfit consisting of trousers, a snow-white shirt with a collar and a jacket.
It was impossible for a woman to appear in trousers and a men's jacket at that time - this was not allowed in society. But Gippius destroys stereotypes easily and with taste, and Bakst skillfully captures her shocking move in this portrait.
The work is written in the tradition of the best portraits of Bakst. The artist worked on it in 1906 and managed very quickly. The image of the figure is given in full growth, an interesting compositional construction leaves an impression for the viewer. The heroine is located in the entire format, which conditionally extends her, and the black and white coloring simplifies and emphasizes the line.
Bakst intentionally leaves the background empty, writing down in detail the face of the poetess and her costume, which was clearly emphasized in order to increase the significance of the personality of this heroine and to show the attention that Gippius always deserved.
Bogdanov Belsky Artist