Advent Calendar 2015 · Art History

December 13th: Ball at the Russian Imperial Court by Dmitry Kardovsky

ball_at_20s_by_kardovsky
A ball at the Russian Imperial Court by Dmitry Kardovsky, 1913. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ball_at_20s_by_Kardovsky.jpg
If you are seeing this (and I set the timer correctly), it means I am currently at a holiday ball. I figured the Advent Calendar should get in on the action, too. Interestingly, it is far easier to get a ticket to a glamorous and elegant holiday party than an artistic representation of one. It took me quite some time to find this , but I certainly saw a lot of beautiful paintings along the way. This image (I believe it is technically an illustration) is by Russian artist Dmitry Kardovsky (1866-1943) and represents a ball that took place at the Russian Imperial Court in 1913 (probably in St. Petersburg), under the rule of Tsar Nicholas II. The red drapery and evergreens combined with the beautiful dresses and dashing military uniforms make this entire scene look so festive. It’s difficult to imagine from this picture that the Tsar and the entire imperial court would be overthrown only a few short years later in 1917. I’ve always been fascinated by the art and architecture of imperial Russia. It seems so grand and opulent to me in a way that’s very different than western European art of a similar era; it is familiar and yet exotic at the same time.

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