Federal State Institution of Culture

Russian State
Art Library

"Art to help the arts"

On 1 April, RSAL’s Exhibition ‘Dreams of the Baroque. Fantasy and Reality in the World of Costume’ Opened

Date: 20.04.2021

Students of the Department of Stage Costume Design of the Moscow Art Theatre School (MXAT) presented their works at the Russian State Art Library (RSAL).

Currently the students are mastering the rare theatrical profession of the artist-technologist, who knows not only how to design a costume for a theatre performer, but how to construct it. It is no coincidence that the compulsory curriculum includes classes at RSAL.

RSAL’s collections of visual arts materials includes prints, books, albums, photographs, postcards, fashion magazines from various eras and countries, and reference books on the cut of clothing, which are valuable for theatre projects. RSAL specialists teach the students how to navigate the information space and develop stage images that correspond to the historical time and place.

In special classes at MXAT, future artist-technologists learn the secrets of how to imitate, reconstruct, and use modern technological techniques to use simple materials in the creation of theatre costumes, accessories, and ornaments that delight the audience with their splendor and richness.

This year, MXAT students studied the French Baroque era during the reign of Louis XIII and Louis XIV.

At the exhibition, the era of Louis XIII is represented by the theatre of military operations, the main characters of which are the musketeers. The reconstruction of the costumes was based on illustrations drawn at the end of the 19th century by the famous French artist Maurice Leloir for The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas.

The centre of the exposition is the figures of famous musketeers made of craft and tracing paper, cardboard, and acrylic. Students constructed women’s period hats of the period using theatrical technology based on the historical patterns, reproducing museum originals of exquisite 17th-century lace and jewellery from paper and gouache.

The metaphor for Louis XIV’s era was his love for art. Following sketches by the court painter Jean Berain, students built a papier-mâché puppet theatre.

The exposition is complemented by materials from RSAL’s collections: old French editions, 17th-century engravings, and books on the history of fashion, which are the starting point for working on historical costumes.


The exhibition ‘Dreams of the Baroque. Fantasy and Reality in the World of Costume’ will run until 24 April.