Vladimir Borovikovsky. Painting Portrait of Elena Alexandrovna Naryshkina, 1799

Painting Portrait of Elena Alexandrovna Naryshkina

Vladimir Borovikovsky. Painting Portrait of Elena Alexandrovna Naryshkina, 1799
Vladimir Borovikovsky. Painting Portrait of Elena Alexandrovna Naryshkina, 1799

“Portrait of Elena Alexandrovna Naryshkina” is a famous painting by Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky. The painter depicted a young lady walking in the garden. It seems that just now she was walking along the path, admiring the lush blooming of roses, but she heard someone call and stopped to talk. Elena’s extraordinary and expressive beauty catches the eye. Gray-green eyes look attentively and coquettishly at the viewer, luxurious brown curls effectively frame the face and spread over the shoulders, porcelain skin gleams with a slight blush on the cheekbones, body shapes are soft and feminine.

Painting “Portrait of Elena Alexandrovna Naryshkina” by Vladimir Borovikovsky – a sentimental ode to female beauty and innocence

Elena Aleksandrovna is dressed simply – she is wearing a modest white dress, the short sleeve of which is intercepted by a string of pearls, and a sky-colored shawl thrown over her right shoulder. Elena is leaning against the stone console. On the right side there is a rose bush, whose pastel pale pink flowers symbolize the purity, youth and freshness of our heroine. Probably, it was from him that the girl plucked the twig that she is now holding in her hand. Behind her is the lush green of trees and climbing plants. The piece is executed in a light manner and evokes pleasant emotions.

Title of the painting: “Portrait of Elena Alexandrovna Naryshkina”.
Author: Vladimir Borovikovsky (1757-1825).
Year of writing: 1799
Size: 60.1 x 73 cm.
Style: Sentimentalism.
Genre: Portrait.
Technique: Oil painting.
Material: Canvas.
Location: State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.

Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky is a famous Russian painter of the 18th-19th centuries

He was a master of portrait, religious and historical genres. Creating, mainly, chamber portraits, in the images of women, he tried to embody the ideal of the beauty of his time. The artist, who often combined two directions in his works, skillfully weaving the characteristic features of late classicism into sentimentalism, wrote “Portrait of E. A. Naryshkina” in his usual handwriting.

Pay attention to the clarity of the pattern and forms, the absence of pathos, a dull palette with a predominance of pure local colors. At the same time, the work is a vivid example of sentimentalism. The young lady is depicted against the background of nature, which conveys a lyrical and slightly sad mood. Borovikovsky’s work is light, airy and transparent thanks to his ability to use another artistic technique – glaze.

Description of the picture

The painter skillfully depicted on canvas the appearance of the eldest daughter of Chief Chamberlain Alexander Naryshkin, but the main thing in the portrait is the expressiveness of the girl’s emotions. Elena, looking at us with languid eyes, is confident, calm and peaceful. At the time of this painting she was 14 years old, she is the maid of honor of the Empress, surrounded by parental love and care, shining at balls and receptions, spoiled by the attention of numerous gentlemen. Just a year after painting the portrait, Elena Naryshkina’s life changed dramatically – she was married to Arkady Suvorov, but the marriage, which lasted 11 years, did not bring happiness.

Suvorov devoted too little time to his family, preferring bachelor games and hunting with dogs to a beautiful, charming and educated wife. In April 1811, he died in the Russian-Turkish war, leaving Naryshkina a widow with four small children. Elena moved to Europe, where she attracted the attention of many fans with her extraordinary charm, sharp mind and courtesy.

Alexander Pushkin dedicated a poem to Elena Naryshkina, and the Italian Gioacchino Rossini wrote a cantata in her honor, which he later included in the second act of the famous opera The Barber of Seville. After 12 years of widowhood, Elena Alexandrovka married Prince Golitsyn and returned to Russia. She spent the rest of her life in Odessa, where she was buried. The painting “Portrait of E.A. Naryshkina ”by Vladimir Borovikovsky, art critics call one of the best female images written by the author at the end of the 18th century. Today the work is kept in the Tretyakov Gallery.