Tragedy, 1914

Not on Viewexpand_more

Vladimir Mayakovsky's Tragedy was inspired by an avant-garde English production of Hamlet performed at Moscow in 1911. Mayakovsky wrote his Tragedy, an unusually short play with exuberant stage activity, first performed at Saint Petersburg in 1913; the author appeared in the title role. It was received with great enthusiasm. There was only one character in the production who is recognizable as a character, Mayakovsky himself; the others are figments of the protagonist's imagination. The Burliuk's illustrations portray them as fragments dominated by their characteristics, for example The Old Man with Cats, rendered in a reductivist Cubo-Futurist style. The actors in the production became doll-like figures with costumes painted on canvas stretched on figure frames pushed by the performers. The theatrical effect is conveyed in David Burliuk's design.

Accession Number
(MJS Books and Graphics, Northampton, Mass.); sold to MIA, 1990.
Catalogue Raisonne
Markov 142-147; Compton 38; Janacek 176-177; Futurisms and Futurismi 438; Doria 18-19; Stein 15
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

Does something look wrong with this image? Let us know

Zoom in on the left to the detail you'd like to save. Click 'Save detail' and wait until the image updates. Right click the image to 'save image as' or copy link, or click the image to open in a new tab.

No Image Available