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Maker(s):Benois, Alexandre
Culture:Russian (1870-1960)
Title:Costume Design for a Prune Vendor
Date Made:ca. 1939
Materials:Watercolor, pencil, crayon with fabric samples on hand-made paper
Measurements:Sheet: 12 3/8 x 9 7/16 in.; 31.4 x 24 cm
Accession Number:  AC 2001.114
Credit Line:Gift of Thomas P. Whitney (Class of 1937)
Museum Collection:  Mead Art Museum at Amherst College

Label Text:
Top, graphite: No 16; Bassi; 2 [overwritten with red pencil] 4 Vendeurs de Pruneaux.
Upper left, red pencil: 2 [proof reading sign for "delete"] 4.
Right margin, graphite: paille / lainage / laine; center: AB; below: Testini / Paiola / Mariani / Barillari.
Verso, pen: [Cyrillic] golyi korol' [The Naked King] [not in Benois’ hand]

The Medieval costume, inclusion of fabric swatches and distinctive numeric inscriptions connect this drawing to similar designs by Benois for a production of Arthur Honegger’s oratorio Jeanne d’Arc staged at the Théâtre National de l’Opéra in Paris in 1939. The inscriptions at the right refer to the intended fabrics: “laine” (wool) for the shirt and pants and “paille” (straw) for the hat, the former reinforced by the two swatches pinned at the upper left. Benois originally intended for two of these characters to appear in the production; when that number doubled, another person used red chalk to change the graphite “2” at the upper center to “4.” The names listed at the lower right probably refer to the four performers who played this role.
SA 2009

costume; fruit; peasants; theater; marginalia

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