One moment more, she has to endure, although every particle of her body hurts and instead of music she hears only the beat of her own heart. A woman – a bird with her outstretched hands seems to be floating in the air.

Last scene – the swan dies…

There is a complete silence in the room, but she knows it will last long. In a moment the storm of applause will burst, the lights will gleam, the audience will leave their seats and they will shout what they always do:

– Pavlov! Pavlov! You’re the best!

She knows that today too, as every evening, she owns their hearts. As in the fairy tale of Cinderella, the daughter of the washer-woman, thanks to her willpower, stubbornness and hard work became the most famous ballerina in history.

Just a moment. Someone is taking a picture … It is taken!

In Philippe Rosenthal’s studio in Selb, based on this very photograph, Constantin Holzer-Defanti was to chisel a woman – bird, Anna Pavlov, the famous ballerina – using the most suitable material – delicate, fragile and immaculately white porcelain.

Holzer-Defanti is the author of a number of figures presenting dancers which used to be popular in the epoch of art deco. Many of them present specific people from the world of dance and ballet.

The Dying swan shows Anna Pavlov in the last scene of her most famous role in Camille Saint-Saëns’ ballet“Animal carnival”.

I am looking at a beautiful, graceful ballet dancer in a half-splits position, dressed up in multi-layered skirt with her hands outstretched in the gesture representing a dying swan. The artist gently emphasized the face, hair, neckline and hands by using colour. Shiny, snow white swan and porcelain constitute the rest. Splendid.

Text: Marta Kropidłowska