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Dumas’ Three Musketeers for Almost 175 Years: Masterpieces Illustrations Drawn in Different Years

Many in adolescence were read by the works of Alexander Dumas, and especially the novel “Three Musketeers”, filled with adventures and historical events of 1625-1628, as well as entertaining illustrations. Next year, the novel will celebrate 175 years, during which artists from different countries have repeatedly illustrated it. One of the best publications is considered an anniversary edition – to the 50th anniversary of the novel with masterpiece illustrations by the French artist Maurice Leloir. But after so many years, contemporary artists also do not bypass the immortal creation of Alexander Dumas.

Maurice Leloir (Maurice Leloir) – a famous French painter, an extraordinary master of watercolors, prints, illustrations, dramaturgy, an expert in the field of fashion history, an artist of theater and cinema. Book illustrations are one of the pinnacles of his work. He illustrated the works of Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Moliere, Honore de Balzac, Guy de Maupassant, Lesage, Stern and other writers. In 1894, at the Paris publishing house Calmann Lvy, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the first publication of A. Dumas’ novel The Three Musketeers, a two-volume jubilee edition was illustrated, illustrated by Maurice Leloir with graphic drawings that are included in the golden fund of world illustration.

Leloire appealed to the literary heritage of Alexander Dumas repeatedly and in 1903 he prepared illustrations for the same publishing house for the “Countess de Monsoro”. And in 1928, Leloir was invited to Hollywood as an artistic consultant to shoot the film “The Man in the Iron Mask” in the third part of Dumas novel “Viscount de Brazhelon.”

But despite the diverse talent and success in all endeavors, Leloir will remain in the history of art forever, primarily, a brilliant creator of the characters from the “Three Musketeers” novel by Alexander Dumas.

In this work, Leloir was able to convey with amazing historical authenticity not only the characteristic images of the heroes and the atmosphere of the novel, but also details of everyday life, costumes, Parisian landscapes of the era of Louis XIII. He created about 250 illustrations of the immortal work, which to this day are considered masterpieces in the world book illustration.

More recently, in 2011, the Pan Press publishing house, Moscow, published a novel by A. Dumas with illustrations by Russian illustrator Denis Gordeev. The artist’s colorful works are emotional and full of details and make you take a fresh look at the characters of the novel. Today, more than 30 books published by Russian and foreign publishers have already been accounted for by the master of book illustration.

“Remember, as a child, while reading a book, we fantasized, drew our own pictures of events taking place in the book? In general, my work comes from there. I capture very realistic worlds arising from what I read and as if“ seen ”by me,” – Denis Gordeev thinks so about his work, – “… And even reading the same work, you can see and draw what I did not see at the first, second or third reading. Sometimes I had to make illustrations of the same books, but every time it was a whole new way. ”
This year marks 185 years of Nikolai Gogol’s cycle of novels “Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka”. Over the course of almost two centuries of history, this immortal masterpiece has been published about a hundred times. And each edition was illustrated by artists who gave it a unique, magical flavor.

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