The prototype for the heroine of Supper was Anna Benois, wife of the artist Alexander Benois. Léon Bakst does not, however, aspire towards a direct portrait likeness. The subject is merely a starting point for a typical Art Nouveau image — the femme fatale, with her enigmatic half-smile, sensual feline grace and shapely figure tightly corseted in black. Supper was a scandalous success at the fifth World of Art exhibition, representing Bakst’s first major triumph as a virtuoso stylist and future legislator of Parisian fashions. Russian Museum: From Icons to the Modern Times. Palace Editions, St Petersburg, 2015. P. 254.

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