Rudolf Nureyev (1938-1993)

His rented flat, London
10 July 1977

Born in the Soviet Union, Nureyev defected to the West in 1961 and became the Principal Dancer of the Royal Ballet. He is widely regarded as the greatest and most influential male dancer of his generation.

‘He was doing marathon performances at the London Coliseum and was thoroughly exhausted’, recalled Schwartz. ‘He asked if he could watch television. Although not pleased, I agreed. I was often on my knees, to draw his eye level to that of the camera. When asked why, I explained, “I’m praying for a good picture.”’

Photo © National Portrait Gallery, London

Photo © National Portrait Gallery, London