Vladimir Borovikovsky, (1757–1825)
Portrait of Maria Lopukhina, (1777-1805), c. 1797
Oil on canvas
72 × 53.5 cm (28.3 × 21 in)
Princess Anna Petrovna Lopukhina (Russian: 8 November 1777 – 25 April 1805) was a royal mistress to Emperor Paul of Russia. In 1798, She replaced Catherine Nelidova as the chief mistress. She was the daughter of Pyotr Vasilyevich Lopukhin, from the Lopukhin family, one of the oldest families of Russian nobility, which owed its distinction to Eudoxia Lopukhina’s marriage to Peter the Great and of which the unfortunate Natalia Lopukhina was also a member.
Her life changed the day Paul cast an eye on her during a ball in 1796. Paul ordered her family to be brought to Saint Petersburg, the Empress ineffectually attempted to interfere and sent an angry letter to Lopukhina pressing her to stay at home. The letter was intercepted and presented to the emperor in the most unfavourable light, thus sparking a quarrel between the spouses and ensuring Lopukhina’s ascendance at court.
Anna was showered with awards, including the Order of Saint John. Lopukhina’s influence on the tsar’s irascible character is reckoned to have been beneficial, although the Emperor’s constant attention seemed to importune her so much that in 1799 she asked his permission to marry a childhood friend, Prince Pavel Gagarin. After the sovereign acquiesced, Gagarin was recalled from Alexander Suvorov’s army then fighting in Italy and the wedding took place on 11 January 1800. The marriage was also to protect her from public spite.
A year later, the Emperor was murdered and the Gagarins proceeded to Turin. Theirs was a marriage of convenience, and he seems to have had little reason for grief when she died of consumption in 1805 at the age of 28. Anna’s body was brought back to the Russian capital, where her tomb may be seen in the St Lazarus Church of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra. More on Princess Anna Petrovna Lopukhina
Vladimir Borovikovsky, (1757–1825) was a Russian painter of Ukrainian origin who dominated portraiture in Russia at the turn of the 19th century. Borovikovsky was born on July 24, 1757. His father, Luka Borovyk was a Ukrainian Cossack and an amateur icon painter. According to the family tradition, all four of Borovyk’s sons served in Myrhorod regiment, but Volodymyr retired early at the rank of poruchik and devoted his life to art — mostly icon painting for local churches.
His friend Vasyl Kapnist was preparing an accommodation for Empress Catherine II in Kremenchuk during her travel to newly conquered Crimea. Kapnist asked Borovikovsky to paint two allegoric paintings (Peter I of Russia and Catherine II as peasants sowing seeds and Catherine II as a Minerva) for her rooms. The paintings so pleased the Empress that she requested that the painter move to Saint Petersburg.
For his first ten years in Saint Petersburg, he lived in the house of the poet, architect, musician and art theorist, Prince Nikolay Lvov, whose ideas strongly influenced Borovikovsky’s art. At the age of 30 years, he was too old to attend Imperial Academy of Arts, so he took private lessons from Dmitry Levitzky and later from Austrian painter Johann Baptist Lampi.
In 1795 he was appointed an academician. He became a popular portrait painter and created about 500 portraits during his lifetime, 400 of which survived to the 21st century. More on Vladimir Borovikovsky
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