East and West, Past and Present

The Manifold Iconographic Code in Valentin Serov’s Portrait of Ida Rubinstein (1910)

in Experiment
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Valentin Serov’s (1865-1911) nude depiction of Ida Rubinstein, created in Paris in 1910, is one of the most striking examples of how the artist processed various Eastern and Western iconographic codes and subsequently found his own unique portrait formula.


A Journal of Russian Culture



  • Ida Rubinstein, 1910, tempera, charcoal on canvas, 147 × 233 cm, State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, inv. Ж-1915.
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  • Dying Lioness, detail of a bas-relief from the Northern Palace of Assurbanipal, room C, table 36, Nineveh, Iraq, c. 645-635 bc, alabaster, 160 × 124 cm, British Museum, London, inv. 124856.
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  • Bijin Holding Cloth for Wiping Tea-Ceremony Bowl, 1801-04, paint on silk, 39.4 × 55 cm, British Museum, London, inv. 1965, 0724, 0.4.
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  • Boyarin Hunting, 1890s, watercolor, gouache on paper, 46 × 33 cm, State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, inv. 9903.
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  • Seven Gods of Happiness at the Foot of the Fuji Mountain, not dated, 370 × 723 cm, State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, inv. A 18924-18926.
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