(b Moscow, Dec 17, 1880; d Gulf of Finland, nr Terrioki [St Petersburg region], June 14, 1912).
Russian painter and stage designer. From 1894 to 1904 he studied at the School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in Moscow under Konstantin Korovin and Vladimir Serov, and under Isaak Levitan, who had a formative influence on his early landscape studies. On a visit to Rome, Florence and Pisa in 1902 Sapunov was impressed by the painting of Adolphe Monticelli. In 1904 Sapunov participated in the exhibition of the Crimson Rose (Rus. Alaya roza) group of Symbolists in Saratov.
In 1905 Sapunov met the director Vsevolod Meyerhold at his theatre studio in Moscow and he later participated in Meyerhold’s attempts to create a ‘Symbolist theatre’ in the production of Aleksandr Blok’s Balaganchik (‘The little fairground booth’; designs in St Petersburg, Theat. Mus.) and Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler at Vera Komissarzhevskaya’s theatre in St Petersburg in 1906. In attempting to polemicize against the detailed realism of the Moscow Arts Theatre, Sapunov and Meyerhold presented the sets for these productions as painted panels and bas-reliefs, and the figure of the actor was seen as an integral part of the overall pictorial schema. In ...