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(World of Art), an illustrated literary and art journal and the organ of the World of Art group and symbolist writers. It was published in St. Petersburg from 1898–99 to 1904; until 1901 it appeared twice a month and from 1901 monthly. The original publishers were Princess M. K. Tenisheva and S. I. Mamontov; in 1900 S. P. Diaghilev, the editor in chief, became the publisher. A. N. Benois was coeditor in 1903, beginning with Number 10.
The journal propounded individualism in art and a gradual acceptance of the international art nouveau style and sought to popularize Russian art of the 18th and early 19th centuries. At the outset the journal devoted much attention to applied art, propagating folk art and handicrafts. The articles by Benois, I. E. Grabar’, Diaghilev, and W. Kandinsky, extracts from the works of R. Muther and J. Meier-Gräfe, reviews of foreign publications, reprints of works displayed at art exhibitions, and reproductions of contemporary Russian and Western European paintings and works of graphic art acquainted readers with contemporary Russian and foreign art. The literary sections, headed by D. V. Filosofov, included religious-philosophical works by D. S. Merezhkovskii, Z. N. Hippius, N. M. Minskii, L. Shestov, and V. V. Rozanov and critical articles by V. la. Briusov and Andrei Belyi, defining to a large extent the aesthetic and literary program of Russian symbolism.
The religious-mystical aspirations and national-messianic hopes of the philosophers and writers were ideologically opposed to the views of those whose concern was art—to their “westernism” and their interest in the Petersburg period of Russian history. After open polemics the Merezhkovskii-Filosofov group left Mir Iskusstva to found their own journal, Novyiput’ (New Path), which appeared in 1903–04.
The journal’s design, created by K. A. Somov, L. S. Bakst, and E. E. Lansere, and the high quality of its reproductions helped raise the general level of artistic taste, one of the group’s main goals. The Chronicle of Events of the Journal “Mir Iskusstva” appeared as a separate publication in 1903.