“The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW) continues to illuminate the rich dialogue between the ancient and the modern with Hymn to Apollo: The Ancient World and the Ballets Russes, an exhibition exploring the seminal role of antiquity in shaping the radically new creations of the famed ballet troupe founded in 1909 by Sergei Diaghilev. The first exhibition to examine this topic, Hymn to Apollo contains around 95 objects, including outstanding examples of ancient pottery, sculpture, metalwork, and more, coupled with costumes, photographs, watercolors, musical scores, digitized films of Ballets Russes productions, and a rich trove of archival material.” — ISAW
Dr. Fitzgerald notes, “Though the Ballets Russes was separated from ancient dance by two millennia, many of the company’s artistic collaborators found a deep connection between their own work and that of antiquity. They were inspired by the freedom of movement seen in images on vases and in marble, the way that dance was integrated into the life of the community, and its ability to interact with its environment, both built and natural. These artists and composers looked to the ancient world not to reconstruct what was, but to build on an ethos that felt vital and relevant.”
Attributed to the Frignano Painter. Skyphos with a Dancing Maenad. Late Classical, 375–350 BCE. Terracotta. Campania, Italy. H. 16.5 cm; W. 15 cm. Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Dr. Harris Kennedy, Class of 1894: 1932.56.39. Photo: Imaging Department © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Artist Unknown. Female “Psi Idol” Figure. Mycenaean, pre-Hellenic, ca. 1250 BCE. Terracotta and pigment. H. 11.1 cm; W. 6.3 cm; D. 3 cm. Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund: 35.744
Artist Unknown. Female “Phi Idol” Figure. Mycenaean, pre-Hellenic, ca. 1420–1190 BCE. Terracotta and pigment. H. 10.5 cm; W. 4.6 cm; D. 3.1 cm. Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund: 35.742
Adolf de Meyer. Vaslav Nijinsky as the Faun in Opening Scene from Prelude à l’Après-midi d’un Faune, 1912. Platinum print. H. 15.9 cm; W. 21 cm. New York Public Library, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, Roger Pryor Dodge Collection NYPL: (S) *MGZEC 84-819, No. 2000. Image courtesy of the New York Public Library
Adolf de Meyer. Vaslav Nijinsky as the Faun Approaching Lubov Tchernicheva as a Nymph from Prelude à l’Après-midi d’un Faune, 1912. Platinum print. H. 15.7 cm; W. 18.4 cm. New York Public Library, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, Roger Pryor Dodge Collection: (S) *MGZEC 84-819, No. 2003. Image courtesy of the New York Public Library
Artist Unknown. Statue of a Young Satyr Turning to Look at His Tail. Roman, Imperial, ca. 1–200 CE. Marble. H. 34.9 cm; W. 17.8 cm; D. 12.1 cm. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Rogers Fund, 1919: 19.192.82 CC0 1.0. Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Artist Unknown. Plaque Depicting a Satyr and a Maenad. Roman, Augustan or Julio-Claudian, 27 BCE–68 CE. Terracotta. H. 50.8 cm; W. 44.5 cm; D. 4.4 cm. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Rogers Fund, 1912: 12.232.8a CC0 1.0. Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Attributed to the Circle of the Lydos. Hydria (Water Jar) Depicting a Chorus with Flute Players and Dancers on the Shoulder, and a Foot Soldier and Horseman on the Body. Archaic, ca. 560 BCE. Terracotta; black figure. Greece, Attic. H. 50.1 cm; W. 39.4 cm; Diam. 30.9 cm. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Bothmer Purchase Fund, 1988: 1988.11.3 CC0 1.0. Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Léon Bakst. Costume Design for Tamara Karsavina as Chloé, for Daphnis et Chloé, ca. 1912. Graphite and tempera and/or watercolor on paper. H. 28.2 cm; W. 44.7 cm. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT, The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund: 1933.392. Image: Allen Phillips/Wadsworth Atheneum
Giorgio de Chirico
. Costume for Nicolas Efimov as a Male Guest, from Le Bal
, ca. 1929
. Three-piece suit: wool and paint; Dickey: twill, paint, and braid
Jacket: L. 78.7 cm; L. with collar 82 cm; Dickey: W. at front hem 38.5 cm; L. with collar 44.7 cm; Pants: L. 97.8 cm; Inseam 71.1 cm; Waist 71.1 cm. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT, Purchased through the gift of James Junius Goodwin, and the Special Gift Account: 1968.112a-c. Image: Allen Phillips/Wadsworth Atheneum
Costume for a Female Slave, from Cléopâtre,
Wool, silk, lamé, and ribbons. Center-back length: 94 cm; Underarm chest: 83 cm; Circumference of collar: 53 cm (inner) and 70 cm (outer).
Dansmuseet—Museum Rolf de Maré Stockholm: DM 1971/64.
Image © Dansmuseet – Musée Rolf de Maré Stockholm
. Costume for a Nymph, from Narcisse,
Dress: Silk and paint with repp detail at waist
. Center-back L. 92 cm; Underarm chest ca. 78 cm (unfitted); Waistline 74 cm
. Dansmuseet—Museum Rolf de Maré Stockholm: DM 1969/47. Image (c) Dansmuseet – Musée Rolf de Maré Stockholm
Statuette of a Veiled Dancing Woman.
Late Classical, ca. 350 BCE.
. H. 23.6 cm; W. 11.6 cm; D. 4.6 cm
. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Museum purchase with funds donated by contribution: 01.7922.
Photograph © 2019 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
The Painter of London D12.
Libation Bowl Depicting Dancing Girls and a Girl Playing the Double Pipe.
Classical, ca. 450 BCE.
Terracotta; white ground
. Athens, Attica, Greece.
Diam. 22.5 cm; D. 3.2 cm.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Edwin E. Jack Fund: 65.908
. Photograph © 2019 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
. Statuette of Dancing Youth. Hellenistic, 200–100 BCE.
. Sicily, Italy.
H. 22.1 cm; W. 13.3 cm; D. 6.9 cm.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Museum purchase with funds donated by contribution: 01.7961.
Photograph © 2019 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
The Briseis Painter.
Two-Handled Amphora Depicting a Maenad and a Flute-Playing Satyr, and a Satyr Dancing with Krotala (Wooden Clappers).
Early Classical, ca. 470 BCE.
Terracotta; red figure.
Athens, Attica, Greece.
H. 28.4 cm
. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Henry Lillie Pierce Fund: 01.8028. Photograph © 2019 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Hymn to Apollo: The Ancient World and the Ballets Russes was organized by ISAW and is co-curated by Clare Fitzgerald, Associate Director of Exhibitions and Gallery Curator, and Rachel Herschman, Curatorial Assistant, both at ISAW. Ballets Russes scholar Lynn Garafola served as an outside advisor.
Images courtesy The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World.