His grandfather, was a talented tailor who won the favors of the Tsar
during the Crimean War. This allowed him to settle in St-Petersburg.
In spite of his parents who resented his taste for the arts,
Léon Bakst was advised to complete his studies prior to entering the Academy.
He did it the other way round and was evicted from the Academy for presenting a subject
that the jury thought too unconventional.
Léon Bakst lost his grandfather the year his parents divorced. He then
started to look afterhis mother and sister Sophie who was raising
four children by herself. They becamea close family. Everyone
contributed to the daily needs, the Kliatchkos with their drawings and colorings, the Manfreds
with their literature and translation.
It is at this hard time in his life that his friend Kanaev came to his
rescue and put him in touch withCount Benkendorf, an amateur painter,
who introduced him tothe Grand Duke Vladimir, the Tsar's uncle and President
of the Academy. The Grand Duke put him in charge of his children's education.
In the meantime, thanks to Albert Benois, a very talented watercolor painter,
Léon Bakst met Alexandre Benois, who founded the
Mir Iskusstva Movement and received the visits ofK. Somov, Walter Nouvel,
D. Filosofov and his cousin S. Diaghilev.
In 1898, Alexandre Benois's friend circle officially became the
Mir Iskusstva Movement and Léon Bakst attended their exhibitions every year...
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