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The Rococo Revival in Alexandre Benois’s Versailles: Fête galantes and Louis XIV in the Early Twentieth-Century Russian Art

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Alexandre Benois, the founder of The World of Art (Mir Iskusstva) movement, a brilliant graphic designer, a prominent art critic and historian renowned for his writings on art history, and a distinguished theatre artist who worked for Serge Diaghilev’s Russian Seasons, was fascinated with Versailles. His passion lasted over thirty years and resulted in the Versailles (Versal’) series that culminated in more than six hundred drawings, watercolors, pastels, gouaches, engravings and canvases created during two prolonged stays in France (1896-1899 and 1905-1907). Although the research on Benois’s oeuvre has expanded during the last two decades, the majority of his works have yet to be interpreted. This article examines an unexplored aspect of Versailles, a distinctive Rococo-revivalist style which Benois assimilated in France. Examined through the prism of the Europeanization of Russian art, this article will explain Rococo revivalism of Versailles in a historico-cultural context.

Affiliations: 1: University of Alberta Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2E6, Email:, URL:


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