The work of Dmitry Levitsky is distinguished by expressive coloring, precisely calculated composition, plasticity of almost sculptural forms and a subtle play of color on textured fabrics and objects of that era.
Artist Dmitry Levitsky: biography
Dmitry Levitsky was born in May 1735 into a family of hereditary clergy named Nos. The artist’s father was also ordained to the priesthood, but for unknown reasons he left the parish and went abroad. In Germany, he learned engraving skills, and then returned home to Ukraine. Where and when Grigory Kirillovich changed his surname Nos to a more harmonious one remains unknown. But one thing is clear – the engraver Levitsky became the boy’s first teacher.
Dmitry Grigorievich Levitsky met the artist Alexei Antropov, who from 1752 for three years supervised the painting of St. Andrew’s Church in Kyiv. It is assumed that the venerable monumental decorator took his young apprentice to St. Petersburg immediately after the completion of the work. In archival documents there is evidence that Levitsky lived in the artist’s house for six years.
The first work of the painter, which received recognition, was a portrait of the artist Gavrila Kozlov with his wife, for which Levitsky was awarded the title of “appointed to the academicians.”
At some stage, the portrait painter began to have conflicts with the leadership. For four years Levitsky worked without salary and payments for state orders, and in 1787 he was forced to quit. In a petition addressed to the council, the portrait painter referred to a serious illness and physical infirmity, but it is known for certain that a month before these events he was absolutely healthy.
The reason for the disgrace could be accusations of political unreliability – Levitsky maintained close relations with the poets Vasily Kapnist and Nikolai Novikov, who criticized the authorities. Little information has come down to us about the last years of the artist’s life. Having retired from business, he lived in his house on the Kadetskaya line and worked on private orders. He painted portraits of those close to the heir to the throne, was a member of the Masonic lodge.