Happy Birthday to Aleksandr Golovin!

On February 17 (March 1) 1863 a Russian artist and stage designer Aleksandr Golovin was born.

Aleksandr Golovin. Self-portrait. 1912
Aleksandr Golovin. Self-portrait. 1912
Tempera on paper mounted on cardboard. 88.6 × 68.9 cm. Tretyakov Gallery

Golovin (1863-1930) belongs with the constellation of prodigiously talented artists, poets, composers, theatre-makers and actors who brought about an unprecedented cultural explosion in Russia in the period called the "Silver Age", which lasted from the end of the 19th century to 1920. From all the diversity of creative personalities working at that period, Golovin - "an elegant person" who captured "the subtlest nuances of thought and feeling" - and his art, "brilliant and refined in execution and taste", remains unique. There are few artists whose oeuvre reflected the culture of the Silver Age so admirably and consistently as that of Golovin. Like his brilliant contemporaries Valentin Serov, Mikhail Vrubel and Konstantin Korovin, Golovin can be also called a creator of the artistic world of that era.

Eleonora Paston. "Everything is Decorative and Only Decorative". On the anniversary exhibition of Alexander Golovin at the Tretyakov Gallery
Magazine issue: #3 2014 (44), Special issue «Alexander Golovin»

We present to your attention articles published in our magazine devoted to art works of this remarkable artist:

Special issue «Alexander Golovin»
#3 2014 (44)
Special issue «Alexander Golovin»

9 papers


Brad Rosenstein, Kathryn Mederos Syssoyeva
Staging the Future. Meyerhold and Golovin’s lost production of “The Nightingale”

#4 2019 (65)

On the evening of May 30 1918, opera lovers in Petrograd gathered at the Mariinsky Theatre to attend the Russian premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s “The Nightingale” (Le Rossignol/Solovei').[1] The audience dodged gunfire in the streets to make their way into this jewel box of Russia’s former Imperial Theatres, and what they witnessed on its stage that night was a painful reminder of their own collapsing social world: a satiric fairytale about a dying emperor, surrounded by fawning, buffoonish courtiers and an agitated populace. That Stravinsky’s emperor is saved, at the eleventh hour, by the healing power of art - metaphorized as the song of a nightingale - must have served only to underscore the destabilizing dread of their own recently deposed emperor’s uncertain future: imprisoned at the time of the opera’s Russian premiere, the Imperial family would be executed just six weeks later. It wasn’t merely an unfortunate play of resemblances that jarred. The highly experimental production, directed by Vsevolod Meyerhold and designed by Alexander Golovin, featuring an enormous cast which included the 14-year-old dancer Georgi Balanchivadze (George Balanchine), seemed to play deliberately on tensions between a fading past and an uncertain future, and between fiction and reality.


Printed by "V pechat"
Supported by the GRANY Foundation
© The State Tretyakov Gallery, 2014

Papers of the International academic conference "ALEXANDER GOLOVIN AND THE CULTURE OF THE SILVER AGE" (14.10.2014 - 15.10.2014, State Tretyakov Gallery).

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