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From September 10, 2010 to January 9, 2011, the V&A Museum presented the exhibition, “Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes, 1909-1929.”  The exhibition was spectacular. Supposing, however,  someone now, in 2013, went to the V&A website, what could they see of this exhibition. The question is intended the V&A’s use of New Media technology to determine what a person  could still see. In the broader context, this post is a look at how the V&A has fulfilled the mission of a museum to make art accessible to the public, anywhere and anytime.


The Diaghilev Exhibition page on the V&A website contains a comprehensive biography of Diaghilev and history of the Ballets Russes. It has numerous pictures of Diaghilev, and the Ballet Russes costumes. Moreover, it contains a number of related content such as


The V&A site contains beautifully done videos. Take a look at one of the videos, “Conserving Diaghilev:”

Not only is the video beautifully done, but the website contains a transcript of the video. This is valuable, because of the quality of the comments. Here are some examples:

Jane Pritchard: When we were selecting the costumes, it was almost like an audition as to which ones were going to be selected to go on show. I felt very strongly that Matisse needed to have a good representation because the costumes that he designed I think are fascinating. In fact, when he was working on the ballet he was researching Chinese and Tibetan cultures, so those were the sources for it. One of the places apparently that he came and got his ideas was actually at the Victoria & Albert Museum, which is one of those satisfying links that come round.

Maria Susana Farjado-Hunter:  This is the costume of a Chinese Conjuror designed by Picasso for the ballet Parade in 1917.

Jane Pritchard: the reconstructions of the two Cubist managers for Parade which are very stunning in themselves…

Here is another video, “Installing the Le Train Bleu Backdrop” by Picasso:


The site contains two Ballets Russes posters:

BR Poster
This huge French poster was designed by Jean Cocteau (1889-1963) to advertise the sixth Paris season of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in 1911 at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. It shows the Russian dancer Vaslav Nijinsky (1888-1950) as the spirit of the rose which he danced with Tamara Karsavina in Mikhail Fokine’s ballet Le Spectre de la rose.


Poster for the Ballets Russes Featuring illustration by Valentin Serov of Anna Pavlova in Chopiniana Théatre du Châtelet Paris 1909

So, what do you think about whether this exhibition by the V&A fulfills the mission of making art accessible?


An adaptation of the V&A Diaghilev exhibition is on view at the National Gallery from May 12 – September 02, 2013

Video, “Ballets Russes Costumes.”

Video, “Ballets Russes Cubist Work.”

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