Which portrait is your favorite?
1️⃣ Valentin Serov, Portrait of Ida Rubinstein as Salomé, 1910, @russian_museum
2️⃣ Valentin Serov, Study of Ida Rubinstein
3️⃣ Ida Rubinstein in the Ballet « Scheherazade »
👶🏻 Ida Rubinstein was born into one of Russia’s richest families, to Jewish parents. To create an aura of mystery, she didn’t tell anyone where she was born, nor if Ida was a nickname.
🧒🏻 Her mother and father died when she was very young, leaving her with a huge fortune. 8-year-old Ida was sent to Saint Petersburg to live with her aunt, a socialite. She was given the best instruction in music, dance and theatre. She lacked natural dance ability, but worked constantly on her posture and movements, secretly hoping to perform on stage.
🤷🏻♀️ She moved to Paris, where she began her career as an actress. Her conservative family was shocked: at the time, being an actress was no different from being a prostitute. Her brother-in-law, a Parisian doctor, had her declared legally insane in order to commit her to a mental asylum and save the family’s honor.
👰🏻 Back in Saint Petersburg, she married her first cousin Vladimir, who was madly in love with her and allowed her to travel and perform. She made her dancing debut in 1908 in a private performance of Oscar Wilde’s Salomé, in which she performed nude in the course of the Dance of the Seven Veils. This inspired Serov’s portrait of her.
🎨 Rubinstein was much celebrated in art. She was bisexual, and had a three-year affair with female painter Romaine Brooks, who created several striking portraits of Ida, including one of the dancer as a nude model for Venus.
🤔 So, which portrait of Ida do you like best? Tell me in the comments!