"Petrouchka", a ballet in one Act and four Scenes, was written by Alexandre Benois and Igor Stravinsky in collaboration with Serge Diaghilev, and held its world premiere at the Théatre du Chatelet in Paris on 13 June 1911. Set in historic St. Petersburg in the year 1830, "Petrouchka" chronicles the peasant holiday of Maslenitsa or "butter week," a time of revelry and debauch before the abstinence of Lent (Buckle 1980, n.p.). For Benois, "Petrouchka" stood as a tribute to the glorious past of St. Petersburg, and he realized no less than eleven productions of this ballet in his lifetime (Buckle 1980, n.p.). In this sheet, Benois presents a costume study for the character Moujik. Performing a traditional dance, the character embodies the sense of frivolity and joy at the heart of Benois's ballet. The character is presumably from the first act of the ballet, in which an array of peasants perform music and dance amidst the crowd gathered for a carnival. Benois brilliantly captures this spirit of this celebration through the use of vibrant colors, sinuous linear rhythms, and a dynamic sense of movement. Works cited: Richard Buckle, Alexandre Benois, 1870-1960: Drawings for the Ballet, exh. cat., (London, 1980).
Moujik from Petrouchka
Gouache and black ink with graphite on paper.
12 3/16 x 9 1/16 inches (310 x 230 mm)
The Joseph F. McCrindle Collection.
Inscribed at lower left, in graphite, "Alexandre Benois".
Joseph F. McCrindle, New York (McCrindle collection no. A0049).