Iconic Designs


Léon Bakst (1866-1924). Narcisse, Costume design for Beotnien, ca. 1911. Gouache and pencil. Howard D. Rothschild Collection. pf MS Thr 414.4 (16). Bequest, 1989.

Costume design by Léon Bakst for Narcisse

It is tempting to say that unlike some original Bakst drawings, there is no question that this is an actual costume design, rather than a com­missioned rendering, because it seems to bear notations concern­ing the details of execution. It might be thought that these indications, which leave the appearance of incomplete­ness, made it unnecessary actually to fill in the colors. However, the existence of other, more finished versions of this drawing suggests that this represented Bakst’s instructions to his assistants, indicating to them how the drawing ought to be completed.