Bass F. Scialjapin as Don Quixote
Charles Adolphe Huard (1874-1965)
20th Century, Oil on canvas
Charles Huard was an eclectic artist who became known at the beginning of the 20th century mainly for his shrewd caricatures that were published in Parisian satirical newspapers and for his illustrations in various publications. His painting output was limited and has not yet been studied in detail, but this work, as well as a series of paintings dedicated to Don Quixote, are known. This painting portrays the Russian bass Fëdor Scialjapin (1878-1938), who played the role of Don Quixote in Jules Massenet's opera, staged in Monte Carlo in 1910, with theatrical realism. The character is shown in the foreground, with armour, a shield, and a lance, and wears a shaving basin on his head as a helmet; in the murky background, we can make out a windmill. The painter's signature, which can be seen in the lower righthand corner, is very unusual: a small red circle with a carnation.