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Nikolaevich Benoit
Biography and information

Alexander Benois was born in the family of Professor of architecture.

From 1885 to 1890 Alexander Nikolaevich study in the May gymnasium in St. Petersburg.

After graduation in 1894, Alexander Benois marries Anna Karlovna kind.

In 1893, Benoit announced himself as a talented artist.

Since 1895 in 1899 Benoit is the custodian of the collection, donated the book. M. K. Tenisheva Russian Museum in St. Petersburg.

In 1900 in a few months teaches the history of styles at the School of Baron Stieglitz.

From 1896 to 1899 and 1905 to 1907 Benoit lives in Paris and Versailles (summer in Brittany and Normandy); from 1908 to 1913 — in the area of Lugano.

In 1926 the artist emigrated to France.

In 1934 Benois wrote a book of memoirs "My memoirs".

Painter and graphic artist-easel, Illustrator and designer of the book, the master of theatrical scenery, Director, author of ballet libretto, Benoit was simultaneously an outstanding historian of Russian and Western European art, a theorist and a sharp publicist, an astute critic, major Museum figure, incomparable connoisseur of theatre, music and choreography. The main feature of his character should be called all-consuming love for art; the diversity of knowledge was only an expression of this love. In all its activities, in science, art criticism, in every movement of their thought Benoit always been an artist. Contemporaries saw in him a living embodiment of the spirit of artistry.

Alexander Benois was the son of Nicholas L. Benois, academician and architect, and muzykantsha of Camilla Albertovna (nee Kavos) — was born on may 3, 1870. By birth and upbringing Benoit belonged to the St. Petersburg artistic intelligentsia. For several generations the art was hereditary profession in his family. Great-grandfather Benoit maternal K. A. Kavos was a composer and conductor, father is an architect, many Stroisib in St. Petersburg and Moscow; the artist’s father was also a major architect, older brother were famous as a painter, watercolourist. The consciousness of the young Benoit was developing in the atmosphere of impressions of art and artistic interests.

Later, Recalling his childhood, the artist is especially strongly emphasized two spiritual jets, two categories of emotions, powerful influenced his views and in a sense defined the direction of all of its further activity.

The first and most powerful of them is connected with theatrical experiences. From an early age and throughout their lives Benoit was a feeling that is hard to describe as a cult theatre. The concept of "artistic" invariably associated Benois with the concept of "theatricality"; it is precisely in art theatre he saw unique opportunity to create in modern conditions the creative synthesis of painting, architecture, music, dance and poetry, to implement the organic fusion of the arts, which he found to be the highest goal of artistic culture.

The second category of adolescent experiences, left an indelible imprint on esthetic views of Benoit, emerged from the experiences of country residences and St. Petersburg suburbs such as Pavlovsk, ancient villas Kushelev-Bezborodko on the right Bank of the Neva river and first of all from Peterhof and its numerous monuments of art. "These… Peterhof impressions. probably happened all my further cult of Peterhof, Tsarskoye Selo, Versailles", — recalled later the artist. To early impressions and experiences of Alexander Benois origins date back the bold revaluation art of the XVIII century, which is one of the largest deserts of the World of art".

The artistic tastes and attitudes of the young Benoit was formed in opposition to his family, who adhered to conservative academic views. The decision to become an artist he matured very early; but after a short stay at the Academy of arts brought only disappointment, Benoit preferred to obtain a legal education at St. Petersburg University (1890−94), and professional artistic training take yourself, for your own program.

Daily persistent employment, constant training in drawing from life, the exercise of imagination in the work on the songs in connection with the profound studying of history of arts gave the artist confident skill, not inferior to the skill of his peers, who studied at the Academy. With the same persistence prepared Benoit to the activities of the historian of art, studying the Hermitage, studying special literature, traveling to historical cities and museums of Germany, Italy and France.

Independent painting (mostly watercolor) were not in vain, and in 1893 Benois for the first time acted as a landscape painter at the exhibition of Russian society of aquarellists".

A year later he made his debut as a critic writing in German essay about Russian art in the book of Matera the History of painting in the nineteenth century", published in Munich. (Russian translation of the essay Benoit were published in the same year, in the magazines "Artist" and "Russian art archive".) About it immediately started talking as a talented art critic, overturned the established notions about the development of Russian art.

Immediately announcing himself as about the practice and art theorist at the same time, Benoit kept this duality and in subsequent years, his talent and energy enough for all.

In 1895−99, Alexander Benois was the curator of a collection of contemporary Russian and European painting and graphics of Princess M. K. Tenisheva; in 1896 organized a small Russian Department for secession exhibition in Munich; in the same year he made his first trip to Paris; wrote kinds of Versailles, marking the beginning of his series on the Versailles themes dear to them throughout life.

A series of watercolors "the Last walk of Louis XIV" (1897−98, Russian Museum and other meetings), created by impressions from trips to France, was his first major work in painting, in which he showed himself to the original artist. This series of long adopted him glory of the singer Versailles and Louis".

In high-school and University years, Alexander Benois was met Dmitry Filosofova, Walter Nouvel and Konstantin Somov, later with Sergei Diaghilev, Leon Leon Bakst, Alfred Nurecom. The circle of like-minded people was transformed in the late 1890s in society "World of art" and the editorial office of journal of the same name. It is in the "World of art" began its various activities artists Leon Bakst, Mstislav Dobuzhinsky, Yevgeny Lanceray.

Explaining the emergence of "World of art", Benois wrote: "We were guided not so much by considerations of "ideological" order, but practical considerations necessary. A number of young artists nowhere to go. Them or not took on large exhibitions academic, mobile and water, or took only reject all that the artists themselves have seen the most obvious expression of their quest… And that’s why Vrubel we were next to Leon Bakst and Som near Malyavina. To "unrecognized" joined those of "recognized", which was not currently approved in groups. Mainly approached us Levitan, Korovin, and, to the greatest of our joy, Serov. Again, ideological, and indeed culture they belonged to another circle, that was the last offspring of realism, not without "peredvizhnicheskoy painting". But to us they tied a hatred of all musty steady dead".

The history of "World of art" began with arranged by Sergei Diaghilev exhibition of Russian and Finnish artists in January 1898 in the building of school of Baron Stieglitz in St. Petersburg. It was first displayed the works of a number of strong representatives of a new direction in Russia. The exposition 1898 became the prototype of the future exhibitions of the journal "World of art", there are signs of their structure and composition.

After previous successful Russian-Finnish exhibition, at the end of 1898, created the journal "World of art", which became the Herald of neo-romanticism. In the future, annual exhibitions of the Association.

The program "World of art" predpologala invasion of his figures in all areas of culture, including fine art, theatre, design of books, but also the creation of household items — furniture, crafts, projects, interior design. In this regard artists undoubtedly have focused on creating great art style, which is confirmed by the participation of a number of them headed by Alexander Benois in the work on sketches for the painting of the largest public buildings of that time — the Kazan station; however, in General the work of artists "World of art" was marked by the seal of intimacy, refined aestheticism and attraction to the chart.

Alexander Benois was actively involved in the artistic life — first of all in the activity of the Association "World of art", being its ideologist and theoretician, as well as in the publication of the magazine "World of art", which became the basis of this Association; often appeared in the media and every week published its own "Artistic handwriting" (1908−16) in the newspaper "Rech". No less than he fruitfully worked as a historian of art: published in two editions (1901, 1902) widely known book "Russian painting in the nineteenth century", essentially remade for her his early essay; began producing serial edition "Russian school of painting and the History of painting of all times and peoples" (1910−17; the publication was interrupted with the beginning of the revolution) and the magazine "Art treasures of Russia"; created a great Guide to the Hermitage picture gallery" (1911).

Benoit began his creative work as a landscape painter and throughout life painted landscapes, mostly watercolor. They comprise nearly half of its heritage. The letter to the landscape in Benoit was dictated by the interest in history. Two themes always enjoyed his attention: "Petersburg XVIII — beginning of XIX century" and "France of Louis XIV.

Later, in his memoirs, written in old age, Benoit admitted: "In me "passeism" began to affect, as something absolutely natural in the early childhood and he remained throughout my life, "the language in which it is easier, more convenient to speak"… Much in the past seems to me a good and long-time friend, perhaps even more familiar than the present. To draw without documents, some contemporary Louis XV easier for me, I find it easier than to draw, without having to nature, my own contemporaries. I have the attitude to the past gentler, more loving, than to the present. I better understand the then thought, then ideals, dreams, passions and even the most grimaces and quirks than I understand all of this in terms of modernity"…". (A. Benois. The artist’s life, I. I.)

His first independent work (1892−1895) are a series of images of Pavlovsk, Peterhof, Tsarskoye Selo, the corners of old Petersburg, and cities in Germany and Switzerland, the old quarters and monuments. Later, already a Mature master, Benoit performed a series of landscapes of Versailles, which have returned many times (1896, 1897, 1898, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1914), Peterhof (1900), Oranienbaum (1901), Pavlovsk (1902), Rome (1903), Venice (1912). In all of these series is dominated by images of historical locations, the Palace parks and works of art. Nature has interested the artist mainly in its relationship with history. Only later, among the works 1911−1916 years began to be purely an infinity series of watercolours depicting the nature Italy, Switzerland, Brittany and Crimea.

A significant part of the said series are working with nature. Most are honest and accurate studies, dull technique and not always with great artistic expressiveness. But Benoit field studies were only the initial stage of creation. Material derived from direct observations were subjected to further radically transformed. The artist was rebuilt composition changed the aspect ratio, strengthened decorative tone color, turning real landscape in the likeness of theatrical scenery with the scenes, backdrop and stage area, which might break, and sometimes playing out the action.

The earliest retrospective of works by Benois related to his work in Versailles. To 1897−1898 years is a series of small paintings, executed in watercolor and gouache and United by the General theme "the Last walk of Louis XIV. It is characterized by creativity Benoit example of historical reconstruction of the past artist, inspired by the vivid experiences of Versailles parks with their sculpture and architecture; but at the same time there were summed up the results of the thorough study of the old French art, especially engravings of the XVII—XVIII centuries. The famous "Notes" Duke Louis de Saint-Simon gave the artist plot outline "Last walks of Louis XIV" and, together with Other memoir and literary sources, introduced Benoit in the atmosphere of the era. Infinity schedule of French classicism told him the techniques of artistic solution. It is from samples of architectural-landscape prints are the main features of Versailles watercolors Benoit: clear, almost drawing layout, clear spatiality, the prevalence simple, always balanced horizontals and verticals, greatness and chilly severity compositional rhythms, finally, underlined the opposition Grand statues and sculptural groups of the Palace of Versailles — small, almost steffany figures of the king and courtiers, playing simple genre and historical scenes. In watercolors Benoit no drama plot, no active steps and psychological characteristics of the characters. People are not interested in the artist, but only an old-world charm and spirit of a theatrical court etiquette ("The pool of Ceres, 1897, the State Tretyakov gallery).

After the first Versailles series Benois created three series of landscapes and interiors, depicting domestic "Versal" - Peterhof, Oranienbaum and Pavlovsk. The techniques developed by the artist in the Last walks of Louis XIV", get here for further development, however, reviewed and modified in accordance with the emotional content invested in a new job.

At the named series no historical and genre scenes, there are no images of people and there is so lyrical tone of irony, which marked the Last walk of Louis XIV. All three new series written as a result of thorough historical and artistic research, inspired passionate poetic passion. Portraying the palaces and parks of the suburban Royal residences, Benoit pathetically celebrates the beauty and grandeur of Russian art of XVIII century. In compositions Benoit often remain features of the theatre "rocker" build, although on the stages and are not historical characters. The "hero" of new works of the artist becomes the very art of the past: not people, and the magnificent architectural-Park ensembles, it is striking in its grandiosity, charming intimate elegance and poetic beauty.

Second Versailles series Benois created in 1905−1906, significantly larger than the "Last walks of Louis XIV and diverse in content and technique. It includes sketches from nature, written in the Park of Versailles, retrospective historical and genre paintings, a kind of "fantasy" on architectural-landscape themes, images court theatre in Versailles. The series includes work in oils, tempera, gouache and watercolour, drawings sanguine and Sepia.

These works can only conditionally be called "series", as they relate to each other not by the development of the plot and not even a common set of their creative tasks, but only some of the unity of the mood prevailing at the time when Benoit, he said, was "intoxicated Versailles" and "completely settled in the past, trying to forget about the tragic Russian reality 1905.

The artist seeks here to inform the audience more factual information about the era, about the forms of architecture, costumes, and so on, somewhat neglecting the task image-poetic recreating the past. However, in the same series includes works that belong to the most successful works by Benois, deservedly enjoys wide popularity: "Parade under Paul I" (1907, GOS. Russian Museum; page 401), "the Output of Empress Catherine II in Tsarskoye Selo Palace" (1909, GOS. art gallery of Armenia, Yerevan), "Petersburg street under Peter I" (1910, private collection in Moscow) and "Peter I on a walk in the Summer garden" (1910, GOS. Russian Museum). In these works one can notice a change in the principle of historical thinking of the artist. At the centre of his interests are finally monuments of ancient art, not things and costumes, and people. Multi historical and genre scenes, written Benoit, recreate the look of the past life, seen as if through the eyes of contemporaries.

Benoit gave a lot of mental strength and time in easel painting and graphics, but by the very nature of his talent and warehouse creative thinking he was not the easel, and even less a master of painting, which could make all sides of his plan into a single, how would synthesizing the image. No wonder it is the best belong to create art books and painting theatre. Benoit thought and came to their topics as Illustrator or as a theater artist and Director, consistently revealing in a series of sketches and songs diverse aspects of the designed image, creating a series of successive architectural-landscape scenery and elaborate staging. The artist’s thoughts about the Versailles of Louis XIV become quite clear to the viewer only when he will perceive the totality of Versailles paintings and sketches, written Benoit.

Somewhat apart among the works of Versailles series are three paintings at favorite artist theatrical theme — "the Italian Comedy" (gouache; 1905, the Ivanovo regional art Museum), "the Italian Comedy. Love letter" (gouache; 1905, the State Tretyakov gallery) and "Italian Comedy" (1906, the State Russian Museum).

The theatre was in a lifetime Benoit strongest his passion; nothing he loved so dearly and didn’t know so deeply. Scenes of all three Italian comedies testify organic theatricality of the thinking of the artist. Acute directing fiction natural and relaxed combined with erudition historian of culture.

Manifested itself in many genres in literature, painting, art history, criticism, directing — Alexander Benois is remembered primarily as a theater artist and theorist of theatrical-decorative art. Its many sets and costumes have shown exceptional ability to reproduce the different epochs, national peculiarities and moods — ability, which can be seen from its first steps mother-Benoit inherited a true cult of the theatre, and his childhood dream was to become a painter True child of St. Petersburg 1870−80's., Benoit was deeply occupied the then passion for drama, Opera and ballet, and even before his trip to Germany in 1890 he saw "the Sleeping beauty", "Queen of spades" and many other performances. There is no doubt that these early experiences have prepared Benois to work on the one-act ballet Delibes "Silvia" in 1901, when the Prince S. M. Volkonsky, Director of the Imperial theatres, yielding to the entreaties of S. P. Diaghilev, decided to prepare a special statement under his leadership. Benoit was invited chief artist and worked on performance together with K. A. Korovin, L. S. Leon Bakst, E. E. Lansere and A. Serov, but because of quarrel with Diaghilev Volkonsky ballet was never delivered

In 1900 Benoit debuted as a theater artist, having a one-act Opera "Cupid's Revenge" in the Hermitage theater of St. Petersburg.

But the real debut Benoit as a theater artist took place in 1902, when he was assigned to arrange the production of the Opera R. Wagner’s "the death of the gods" at the Mariinsky theatre. After that they were filled with sketches of scenery for the ballet N. Century Cherepnin’s Le Pavillon d’armide (1903), the libretto of which he wrote himself.

Attention Benois for accurate historical detail has been the hallmark of its scenery and costumes. For example, in "Le Pavillon d’armide" Benoit recreated magnificent, encyclopaedically accurate picture of the epoch of Versailles. The success of the artist in "Le Pavillon d’armide" confirmed its artistic vocation, and he was involved in numerous theatrical projects. In 1907 Benoit played an important role in the Foundation of an Ancient theater in St. Petersburg (for which he created a curtain). Next year one of his sets have been used in the Paris production of "Boris Godunov".

Passion for ballet was so strong that at the initiative of Benoit and with his direct participation was organized private ballet, which started in 1909 triumphant performance in Paris — "Russian seasons". Benoit, who took in the company as Director of the artistic part, fulfilled the registration to several ballet performances — "Les Sylphides", "Le Pavillon d’armide (both 1909), "Giselle" (1910), "the Nightingale" (1914).

One of his greatest achievements was the scenery for the ballet I. F. Stravinsky’s "Petrushka" (1911); the ballet created on the idea of the Benois and written by him libretto. Soon after began the collaboration of the artist from the Moscow art theatre, where he successfully issued two performances based on plays by J.-B. Moliere (1913) and some time even participated in the management of the theatre along with the K. S. Stanislavsky and B. I. Nemirovich-Danchenko.

In the last pre-revolutionary years (1911−1917) Benoit, occupied mainly work in the theater, continued from time to time to turn to easel painting and graphics. In 1912, was created a series of landscapes of Venice, in 1915 — Crimean series. In 1914−1917 the artist worked on sketches of decorative panels for the Kazan station in Moscow, which, however, were never realized.

Together with other artists "World of art", Benoit was one of the most active figures in art movement, revived in Russia art of book graphics.

Almost each of artists "World of art" has left its mark on the development of a new book graphics and participated to some extent in the creation and development of common creative system, illustration and book design; but, of course, share not everyone was equal. Somov was the initiator and the founder of new artistic principles of the decorations of the book, but he did not possess the talent of Illustrator.

As Soms, Benoit has performed a number of purely decorative, decorative pictures for the "World of art" (1901, 1902, 1903), "The artistic treasures of Russia" (1902) and "the Golden Fleece" (1906). But the main sphere of his activities in the chart, starting from the early period and up to the last pre-war years was the illustration.

The earliest works by Benois for the book belongs illustration to "the Queen of spades" (1898), published in the three-volume collected works of Pushkin (1899), illustrated many Russian artists, including masters of the World of art". 3rd this first experience was followed by four watercolor illustrations of the "Golden pot" E. T. A. Hoffmann (1899, GOS. Russian Museum), the remaining unreleased, two-page illustration to the book of P. I. Kutepova "Royal and Imperial hunting in Russia", T. III (1902), created in collaboration with E. E. Lansere (in the same edition Benoit has performed a number of savers and endings). Already in his early works are clearly specific features illustration of talent Benoit: the power of his imagination, plot resourcefulness, ability to convey the spirit and style depicted era. But the illustrations are still "mounted" in nature; this is a historical compositions, mounted in a book, but not merging with it naturally.

More Mature phase in the development of book graphics Benoit reflects its Alphabet in pictures "(1904) — the first book in which the artist has acted as the sole author, Creator of the idea, Illustrator and designer. For the first time he had to deal with the questions of artistic design of books. Each of the drawings to the "ABC" is a detailed narrative scene, imbued with gentle humor, sometimes genre, often fairy tales, theater, always inexhaustible inventor for story reasons. With the "Alphabet" Benoit begins the history of the children’s book "World of art".

In the hands of the Benois book graphics has become an art not so much of a decorative, how many narrative; pure design tasks, which occupied Somov, Dobuzhinsky and young Lanceray, play in the work of Benoit is clearly a secondary role. However, he tries to follow the principles consistently held rhythm in the design of books and stylistic unity of all elements of the CE clearance; but the plane of the page in a book is not for Benoit independent erotic value that you want at any cost to preserve and emphasize, as did Som. Song Benoit always spatial precisely because they, first of all, the narrative. He does not overload the book ornamental decorations, and sacrifice them for the sake of the story.

The main place among the graphic works by Benois take illustrations to Pushkin. The artist worked on them throughout their life. As mentioned, he started with drawings to the "Queen of spades" (1898) and then double-returned to illustrating this story (1905; 1910). He played two series of illustrations to "the Captain’s daughter" and for several years was preparing his main work — illustrations to "the bronze horseman" (1903, 1905, 1916, 1922).

Such passion, of course, was not accidental. Kind of cult Pushkin was extremely characteristic figures of the art World, primarily for Benois. They all saw in Pushkin like the living embodiment of the new European practices of Russian culture".

Before the revolution of book work Benoit had little success with the publishers. Illustrations to "the Captain’s daughter" (1904) remains unreleased. The first version of illustrations to "the bronze horseman" (1903) published as a separate book, but only in the magazine "World of art" (1904), with violation designed by the artist of the design layout. Unsuccessful published the second version, first published in volume III of the works of A. S. Pushkin, and then, however, published as a separate book, but with very poor renditions. Only after the October revolution of the bronze horseman with pictures Benoit came, finally, the award-winning publication.

Before the revolution, was published properly only the second option (1910) of illustrations to "the Queen of spades". It is in the illustrations to "the Queen of spades" more clearly than in any other, reflects the searches of the artist, his attempts to create an independent system of book design. The layout of the Queen of spades is carefully designed and developed by the artist. Strips of text enclosed in an ornamental frame, not drawn, and composed of Elements of typesetting and artistically stylized in the spirit of editions of Pushkin’s time. Each Chapter is decorated with separate spread title page and has one page illustration, screensaver and ending. Purely decorative ornaments no. All drawings story, and each of them performs an independent role in the system of illustration: the half-titles are fine interpretation of epigraphs that Pushkin gave their story, and in the captions and the endings developed pictorial motifs.

Much more significant other, undoubtedly the best portrait of the artist’s works, his masterpiece — paintings for the "bronze horseman". The cycle of the first variant consists of 32 drawings in ink and watercolor, imitating coloured engraving on wood. Publication of illustrations in the "World of art" was immediately met with the artistic community as a great event in Russian script. I. Grabar noted in illustrations Benoit subtle understanding of Pushkin and his era and yet heightened sense of modernity, and L. Bakst called the cycle of illustrations to "the Copper horseman "is a real pearl in Russian art".

In 1905 Benoit again revised their previous six illustrations and performed a cover to "the Copper horseman". But only in the last version, drawings, several supplemented with new topics (1916, 1921−1922), was finally atkrintamosiose method illustrate Benoit.

The value of the cycle "the bronze horseman" is far more than its purely graphic qualities. The artist has invested in this work all your complex and multifaceted experience, not only creative, but also in life. No wonder Grabar spoke of "modernity" illustrations Benois, which seemed to him no less significant than is characteristic of the artist’s sense of style, the understanding of the Pushkin Epoch and the ability to skillfully teatralizat action by developing a number of "masterfully staged scenes". In the drawings Benoit images Petersburg novel" Pushkin’s as if painted thoughts and feelings of the person of the early XX century.

Activities Benoit as an art critic and art historian is inextricably linked with all that did Benoit in painting, easel and book graphics, in the theatre. Critical essays and art-historical research Benois represent a comment to the ideological and artistic pursuits, and the daily practical work of the artist. But his literary works have completely independent significance, describing complex, big and fruitful stage in the development of Russian criticism and science about art.

Together with the Grabar Benoit headed a movement upgraded method, techniques and themes of Russian art of the late XIX — early XX century.

One of the important missions of this movement that emerged in line with the "World of art", was the systematic review of all the material critical estimations and main problems of the history of Russian painting, architecture, sculpture and decorative and applied art of the XVIII and XIX centuries. It was about that in a new way to cover the processes of development of Russian artistic culture over the past two centuries, drawing materials, not only not previously studied, but almost untouched.

It is difficult to overestimate the scale of this work, which could only be collective. It was attended by almost all artists "World of art". Artists and critics became historians, collectors, the discoverers and interpreters of forgotten or incomprehensible art values. Above mentioned about the importance of these "discoveries"as the Russian portrait painting of the XVIII century and architecture of old Petersburg. Such discoveries figures "World of art" was done a lot in a variety of fields of artistic culture. Benoit was the initiator and inspirer of this work. Its share has fallen and the most difficult, responsible part — analysis and review of the history of Russian painting of XVIII—XIX centuries.

In 1901−1902 was published in two parts of the History of painting in the nineteenth century. Russian painting", applied as of the fourth volume of the translation of the well-known work of R. Matera. The title of the book Benoit not quite correspond to its content: the exposition includes not only the XIX century, but the history of the new Russian art, starting from the Petrine era to the first exhibitions "World of art".

In Russian scientific literature history of art has never taught with such fullness and systematic, with such subtlety of analysis and yet with such emphatic and even software subjectivity. The book Benoit is a serious and original research, affecting the abundance and diversity of attracted material, deep understanding and soulful subtlety of individual characteristics but at the same time the book is sharp journalistic treatise, stressed directed against academism and Peredvizhnichestvo. In his book Benoit gave a scathing characteristic creativity Brullov, Bruni, with disdain praised Aivazovsky and Vereshagina, showed unfair intolerance to many Wanderers. At the same time he was often exaggerated the importance of creativity his closest collaborators and friends.

These features of the book are connected with the group tactics "World of art" and the personal, subjective biases of the author. Presenting himself tribute time, they should not play a decisive role in the evaluation of the work of Benoit. Much more noticeable shortcoming of the book is uncertainty and ambiguity common historical concept behind the research. It lacks exactly historicism. Art interpreted Benoit as a completely Autonomous sphere, independent of social reality and hardly connected with other phenomena of culture. Theme of the research is, therefore, not a process of historical development of national painting, with its hidden regularities, which should be detected, but only the history of the artists who participated in this process.

But if the history of Russian painting as a whole contains serious shortcomings, some of its pages, in which the author had not been bound with bias of personal taste or tactical considerations of group "World of art", are among the most striking phenomena of Russian art of the early XX century. And still retain the scientific significance of the head of the portrait painters of the eighteenth century, Kiprensky, Venetsianov, Silvestre, Sedrine and landscape 1810−1830-ies, about Alexander Ivanov, Surikova, Vrubel, and Serov.

Along with these major works by Benois published in the journal "World of art" (1899−1904) and monthly digest "Artistic treasures of Russia" (1901−1903), and later in the magazine "Old years" (1907−1913) and some other publications the number of articles and notes on specific issues of the history of Russian and Western European art. The themes of these publications are very diverse. It is about the art-historical ensemble of palaces, state and private collections of the great masters of the past and about the individual works of painting, graphics, sculpture, architecture and decorative applied arts. The most significant items mainly related to the architecture of old Petersburg and its suburbs; about one of these articles was "Beautiful Petersburg" (1902) mentioned above. In 1910, was released in svitonline study Benoit "Tsarskoye Selo during the reign of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna" - thoroughly documented study of the history of everyday life and the artistic life of Russia in the first half of the XVIII century.

Western European art attracted the attention of Benoit is equally, than Russian. He owns a monograph about Goya (1908), a guide to the Hermitage picture gallery (1911), a large article about the Lyotard (1912) and a number of other works, popularizing the classical heritage of European painting. Original research is a Grand History of painting of all times and peoples", remained unfinished: between 1912 and 1917 were published on 22 release of the first part of the book covering the development of landscape painting from ancient times to the middle of XVIII century. Here, as in the history of Russian painting, common historical concept is the most vulnerable aspect of the Benois. Already contemporaries correctly noted that the most valuable thing in his work lies outside the circle of evolutionary conclusions and cultural-historical generalizations. "In the history of A. N. Benoit is the most interesting, neobyknovennoe just myself A. N. Benois wrote P. Muratov.- His exceptional knowledge, experience and memory are unmatched… Hardly have time to appreciate the delicate comments on Italian painting, as I begin to wonder his confident and easy movement through the maze of the early Dutch painting — but the old Germans and, it seems, here A. N. Benoit feels even closer to the pictures, and his words about the artists sound more fervently and alive".

The earliest artistic and critical series Benoit — "Conversations artist", published in the journal "World of art" for 1899, describes the first steps Benoit-criticism. It contains mainly reviews of the Paris art exhibitions and notes about some minor French painters like Farina and Latush, at that time there seemed criticism greater than the Impressionists and Cezanne.

The second series of his articles published in "the Moscow weekly" for 1907 and 1908 under the heading "the Diary of an artist", devoted mainly to problems of theatre and music.

The flourishing of artistic and critical activity Benoit falls on the period of creation of the third series of his articles under the General title "the Art of calligraphy", weekly which was published in the newspaper "Speech" from November 1908 to 1917.

This series includes about 250 articles, are extremely diverse in content and, in General, with great fullness reflecting art

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1906, 62×48 cm
1905, 65×47 cm
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