1916-20. Sketch. Oil on canvas. The Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia. Read Note.
World of Art (Mir Iskusstva) - a Russian association of artists and intellectuals wishing to distance themselves both from academism and from the insistent Russian-ness of the Wanderers’ (Peredvizhniki) art and to demonstrate their cosmopolitan interests, founded in 1898 by a group of students headed by Alexander Benois and Sergei Dyaghilev. The first members of the association were Constantin Somov, Dmitry Philosophov, Walter Nouvelle, Leon Bakst and Evgeni Lanceray (not all of them were painters). Diaghilev was a leading figure in the association and it was him, who in 1899 formulated the artistic principles of the association. Diaghilev was an organizer of exhibitions and subsequently the creator of the Ballets Russes (French for Russian Ballets), which brought Russian themes, music and design to the West from 1909 on. Members of "The World of Art" were highly educated people with exquisite taste; their aesthetic sympathies were so wide that a tendency for eclectics developed. "The World of Art" program concerned all the arts including not just painting, but also theatre, book design, applied arts and crafts, furniture and interior design