Decor for the Ballet "Le Soleil de Nuit"

Mikhail Larionov, French (born Russia), 1881 - 1964

Made in France, Europe


Opaque watercolor and graphite with collage of cut painted paper on board

Image and sheet: 21 x 29 5/8 inches (53.3 x 75.2 cm)

© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Curatorial Department:
Prints, Drawings, and Photographs

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Christian Brinton, 1941

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Sergei Diaghilev’s discovery of Natalia Goncharova was a watershed in the history of the Ballets Russes. This leader of the Russian avant-garde developed a daring aesthetic that fused the archaic with the modern through Neo-Primitivist emulation of peasant art informed by Cubo-Futurist experimentation. In his designs for the ballet Le Soleil de Nuit (Night Sun), Larionov reinvented Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera Snegourotchka (Snow Maiden) as a pagan celebration of the sun-god Yarilo at the arrival of spring. A garland of joyful sun discs in the ceiling was meant to spin rapidly, recalling Larionov’s attempts to convey the effect of scattered light rays in his paintings.