Beardsley Men in Early Twentieth-Century Russia: Modernising Decadent Masculinity

This article explores the reception of Aubrey Beardsley in Russia concentrating on new gendered meanings acquired by ‘Beardsleyism’ in modernist Russian culture. While the so-called ‘Beardsley Woman’ became a widely discussed literary construct and journalistic trope in Britain, the imagination of Russian artists and literati was captured by a ‘Beardsley Man’. Due to the circulation of the artist’s portraits and descriptions by modernist periodicals such as Mir iskusstva (World of art; 1899–1904) and Vesy (Libra; 1904–1909), a specific form of male (self-)representation emerged in the homophile art circles of St Petersburg and Moscow. Exploring this new urban Russian masculinity, I use the case studies of four men who were compared to Beardsley or used Beardsley as a model in their work and self-fashioning: artist Nikolai Feofilaktov, poet Georgii Ivanov, writers Mikhail Kuzmin and Iurii Iurkun.

Portraits of Aubrey Beardsley by Walter Sickert and Charles Conder, reproduced in Mir iskusstva, 3.7–8 (1900), p. 84, 85.


You can access the full text of the article online: Modernist Cultures, Volume 16 Issue 2, pp. 191-215.

The cost of images was covered by the Alessandra Wilson Fund.