Léon Bakst

Leon Bakst was an artist and costume & scene designer from Russia who lived from 1866-1924. Honestly, I decided to research him because his name sounded cool! It turns out he lived a very interesting life. He was born as Lev Rosenburg to a Jewish middle class family in Belarus, Russia. He grew up first finding a passion for art in the architecture of his grandfather’s house. After this discovery, he entered an art contest at the age of 12 and won; this sparked his desire to become an artist. His parents didn’t approve- nonetheless he eventually worked his way into the St. Petersburg Academy of the Arts. During his adult life he showcased multiple works of art in many exhibits. He also worked with the Ballets Russes as a scene designer for Diaghilev. The most interesting fact I found though was that Bakst trained the artist Marc Chagall. I’ve seen alot of his works in museums in San Francisco and I found it fascinating that Leon taught him. He even commented on Chagall that he was his favorite student as he would listen to Bakst’s instructions but then completely deviate from them and create his own works of art. 


Mariah Bartelmez


2 thoughts on “Léon Bakst

  1. I am glad Mariah included Bakst’s background story in her post. I especially liked the fact that he worked with Chagall since I am somewhat familiar with his work from my art history class in high school, but I had no idea who he learned from! This makes me want to explore some of what his set designs or paintings may have looked like after reading this. The history relates to my own experiences and knowledge of art and design, so I’m happy someone chose to research Bakst!

    Hannah Caruso

  2. I also thought the background information was very interesting. After reading this post, I looked at some of the images associated with his name. What I found were very colorful and exotic costumes and set designs, this is much different than the classical ballet designs. The works also seem to have a strong oriental influence based on the patterns and styles of the costumes. I found that intriguing because when I think of ballet I think of European, structured styles and cultural influences. This work was ground-breaking.

    Ashley Driver

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