Federal State Institution of Culture

Russian State
Art Library

"Art to help the arts"

On 28 April, the Exhibition ‘Boris Messerer. Etchings for the Theatre’ Opened in RSAL’s Blue Hall

The exhibition ‘Boris Messerer. Etchings for the Theatre’ continues Russian State Art Library’s long-term project ‘The Art of Our Readers’.

Boris Messerer is an outstanding master working in several types of fine arts. He became a popular set designer quite early; by the early 1960s he had designed performances for the Sovremennik Theatre and several ballets for the Bolshoi Theatre.

Today Messerer is rightfully considered one of the best theatre artists of both the Soviet and post-Soviet periods: he has created sets and costumes for more than 150 opera, ballet, and drama performances. The artist considers sketches to be an independent work of art and spares no time in their creation.

The sketches of theatrical costumes presented at the exhibition are unusual, Messerer is the only artist who creates them using etchings. To produce the artist’s prints, he has developed a special technology and designed a special etching machine that have allowed the master to achieve impeccable quality, large-format images and to achieve almost unlimited possibilities of working with colour.

This is how he created the printed series for the ballet performances, The Bedbug by Vladimir Mayakovsky, set to music by Dmitri Shostakovich (Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg); Spartacus by Aram Khachaturian (Armenian National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet, Yerevan); as well as Sylvia by Leo Delibes (an unrealised production, Mikhailovsky Theatre, St Petersburg); and the drama Three Ages of Casanova based on the works of Marina Tsvetaeva (Vakhtangov Theatre, Moscow).

Boris Messerer is a longtime reader and friend of the Library. Many ideas for the master’s theatrical performances have been born here in the Library.