On what would have been his 145th birthday Friday, Google celebrates the life and work of Russian visionary Sergei Diaghilev, cultural impresario and creator of the pioneering Ballets Russes, with a new Doodle.
Born into a wealthy family in 1872, by the time he’d reached his thirties Diaghilev had become known as an attaché of sorts for Russian culture; he collected rare portraits and brought some of Moscow’s most exquisite talents to Europe for performances.
The Ballets Russes was founded by Diaghilev in 1909 in Paris, and later came to be known as the most influential ballet company of the 20th century. The company was known for its avant-garde and collaborative productions that brought together artists of various fields and visions. Its modernist choreography, elaborate costumes, and stage sets designed by some of the moment’s most provocative artists captivated crowds throughout the globe.
The mustached eccentric is remembered as a man of limitless ingenuity, who brought together talents of all types. Among his list of friends and colleagues are many of the century’s most memorable artists; Anna Pavlova and Vera Karalli both danced on the company’s stage, while other creatives such as Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Jean Cocteau were artistic collaborators.
Diaghilev died of diabetes in 1929.