Chinese Pavillion

Chinese Pavillion - Benois conjures a precious...

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Chinese Pavillion: The Jealous One , painted in 1906, is related to the Versailles series. The actions of the characters are simplified until they acquire the schematic nature of the Italian commedia dell' arte. Placing the Chinese Pavilion in the centre of the painting, Benois elevates it to the status of the main "hero" of his work. One of Benois' favorite artistic devices, the impression that the human figures are just puppets, "governed" by majestic architecture, in this work is strengthened by the fact that the pavilion resembles a precious toy and dominates the composition, which corresponds to the World of Art notion that theater is first of all a spectacle, a "feast for the eyes."
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Unformatted text preview: Benois conjures a precious "object d'art," in which the turquoise sky with myriads of stars, the mysterious glow of the lights of the pavilion, and the tiny doll-like figures make us feel that we are looking at a delicate toy, perhaps at an elaborate music box. After returning to St. Petersburg, Benois admitted that "no Versailles could compare with impressions made by Peterhof and Pavlovsk." As if he wanted to prove his point, he published highly acclaimed illustrations to Pushkin's Bronze Horseman and The Queen of Spades. Nevertheless, as before, the "heroes" of his illustrations are not the people but their surroundings, the landscape, the atmosphere and the spirit of the city....
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