'Manneken Pis', the statue of urinating boy, is one of the main attractions of Brussels. The tradition of dressing 'Manneken Pis' emerged more than three hundred years ago, when in 1698, the governor of the Spanish Netherlands, Maximilian Emmanuel, dressed up the figurine in clothes for the first time. Henceforth, Manneken Pis has tried on more than 1,000 costumes donated by presidents, prime ministers of states, as well as representatives of various peoples and organizations. The participation of foreign countries in this spectacular Belgian tradition takes place only on very important occasions, which makes the campaign in cooperation with the Russian party particularly significant. The ceremony of dressing the statue in Brussels in the costume of 'Russian Seasons', in cooperation with the Russian Centre for Science and Culture and with the support of the Russian Embassy, will bring the representatives of two cultures closer together, in delivering a worthy continuation of this long tradition.
'The year 2020 has become a challenge for us all, as we had to reschedule and cancel many events, adjust plans for further activities and begin to adapt to new conditions. We are extremely grateful to the Belgian party for this chance to participate in such a cherished national tradition as the Manneken Pis dressing. The costume of 'Russian Seasons' is the result of an extensive teamwork. Inspired by the original theatrical costume, we added some new, modern details and created our own, unique outfit. Respect for the past and relevance to the present are among our top priorities,' comments Alexey Lebedev, Director of the 'Russian Seasons' INPO.
The ceremony of presenting the Russian costume by the Russian Embassy to the Belgian authorities will take place on October 28 at the Brussels City Hall ; it will be followed by the ceremonial procession crowned by the 'dressing' of the Brussels icon in the costume of 'Russian Seasons'. Subsequently, the dressing piece will become part of the permanent exhibition at the Museum of Brussels that stores all the costumes presented to the city in a dedicated hall.
'Modern Belgians show great interest in Russian culture, which is certainly due to those projects that actively introduce foreign audiences to the gems of Russian art. In this respect, 'Russian Seasons' provide an excellent example. So far, we keep in secret the costume itself, it should come as a surprise to everyone, but it is worth saying that its image is inspired by the work of great Diaghilev, Fokin, Bakst,' remarks Director of the Russian Centre for Science and Culture in Brussels by V. G. Bunin.
The costume design is based on the costume for a character from Maurice Ravel's one-act ballet 'Daphnis and Chloe', the production of playwright and choreographer Mikhail Fokin and stage designer Lev Bakst, an avant-garde artist. Emblematic of Ballets Russes, the 'Daphnis and Chloe' ballet was commissioned by Sergei Diaghilev in order to be presented to foreign audiences. The production premiered on 8 June 1912 in Paris and amazed the audience with the company's dancing mastery and sophistication of stage design. The epitome of the project itself, the costume made by 'Russian Seasons' refers to history, by embodying the aesthetics of the Russian avant-garde art.
The international cultural project 'Russian Seasons' revives the tradition established more than a hundred years ago by Sergei Diaghilev, of presenting the best of Russia's cultural heritage to the general public worldwide. Today, the project has become a catalyst for qualitative change of cultural and humanitarian relations on the global scale.