The Grand Cascade, Peterhof, c. 1910, 64 x 80cm, watercolour over pencil heightened with gouache on paper laid on canvas, private collection.
Alexandre Benois was a painter, Russian theatre art director and ballet librettist who with Léon Bakst and Serge Diaghilev cofounded the influential magazine Mir iskusstva (“World of Art”), from which sprang the Diaghilev Ballets Russes.
Benois was an artist in the full sense of the word. He lived, breathed, wrote, created, and celebrated art, both on and off of the ballet stage. As an artist, Benois was not as prolific as a painter for the sake of painting or creating, but rather as a method of ballet set and stage design. He began his career at the Mariinsky Theatre as a scenic designer, and quickly expanded his role to be at the forefront of ballet set and costume design.