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Article

S. J. Vernoit

[Abū’l-Qāsim]

(fl c. 1816).

Persian painter. His only known work is a long composition depicting the Qajar monarch Fath ‛Ali Shah (reg 1797–1834) entertained by female musicians and dancers. The only surviving fragments of it are a painting of the shah (London, B. W. Robinson priv. col.) and three paintings of the entertainers (Tehran, Nigaristan Mus., ex-Amery priv. col.). The paintings of a woman playing a drum and of a woman playing a stringed instrument are signed raqam-i kamtarīn Abū’l-Qāsim (‘painted by the most humble Abu’l-Qasim’) and dated 1816, but the third painting showing a woman dancing is half-length and damaged. All the fragments share the same continuous architectural background and scale (a little less than life-size). Robinson has suggested that this mural might be the one described in the mid-19th century by the traveller Robert Binning, who reported that the house he occupied in Shiraz contained a painting of Fath ‛Ali Shah seated in state attended by ten women. The composition extended around three sides of the room and the figures were almost life-size. This identification suggests that Abu’l-Qasim might have been a native of Shiraz....

Article

Colette E. Bidon

(b Algiers, March 23, 1861; d Marlotte, Seine-et-Marne, March 1932).

French painter and designer. He began his career painting the Algerian scenes of his youth, rendering Orientalist subjects—such as markets and musicians—with a distinctive, unaffected precision. In 1888 he went to Paris to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts under Auguste Herst (b 1825) and Fernand Cormon. He exhibited at the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts from 1890.

The discovery of Ruskin and the Pre-Raphaelites, and a visit to Italy in 1894, led Point to model his work on the artists of the Florentine Renaissance. The inspiration of Botticelli and Leonardo can be seen in such works as the Eternal Chimera (c. 1895; London, Piccadilly Gal.). Under the dominating influence of Gustave Moreau, his work was also aligned with Symbolism. He became a disciple of Rosicrucianism and a friend of Sâr Peladan, fastidiously rejecting the modern industrial world and what he considered the excessive realism of Zola or Courbet. He painted magicians, endowed with a pure and ancient beauty, or figures of Greek mythology (e.g. ...

Article

(b Feodosiya, Dec 24, 1867; d Monte Carlo, Aug 17, 1968).

Russian stage designer of Abkhazian descent. In 1893, after studying under Vasily Polenov at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, he went to Paris, where he later joined the Montparnasse art circle established in 1904 by Yelizaveta Kruglikova. From 1891 he worked on easel paintings, but in 1906 he was appointed head of the St Petersburg studio of stage design. His most significant designs during this period were for Vsevolod Meyerhold’s production (1908) of Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde at the Mariinsky Theatre. In 1911–12 he worked at the Starinny Theatre alongside artists from the World of Art group, such as Nicholas Roerich, Ivan Bilibin, Yevgeny Lansere and Nikolay Kalmakov (1873–1955). Shervashidze also worked as a draughtsman, a book illustrator, a dress designer, and as a critic and theoretist, publishing articles in Apollon, Zolotoye runo, Mir iskusstvo and Iskusstvo. He lived in Sukhumi for a while from ...

Article

V. Rakitin

( Bogdanovich )

(b Tiflis [now Tbilisi], Jan 2, 1884; d Erevan, Dec 28, 1928).

Georgian stage designer and painter of Armenian origin, active in Russia . He studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1901–3) but was expelled after a disagreement over the teaching methods. Posted to the Far East during military service, he became acquainted with Far Eastern decorative art, which inspired the works he exhibited with the Blue Rose group after his return to Moscow in 1907 (e.g. The Races, 1905; Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.). His work of this time refers to traditional Chinese and medieval European art refracted through Art Nouveau, in an attempt to create a new decorative style in easel painting. In Moscow he often designed the décor for artistic soirées and balls, creating architecturally decorative compositions whose basic components were painted panels. In 1910 he travelled to Italy and in 1912–13 he worked in Paris, where he became acquainted with Sonia Delaunay and Robert Delaunay. In ...