Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky (Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky; August 4, 1757 – April 18, 1825) was a famous Russian painter of the XVIII-XIX centuries, the author of skillful portraits. The paintings of Vladimir Borovikovsky attract attention with their sentimentality, reflecting the sensual emotions of the heroes. The artist’s work is not shrouded in an aura of mystery, but there is something mysterious in his works. The faces of the models express childish innocence, the wisdom of past years or incomprehensible traits of character, thereby causing a desire to learn about the personality of those who served as a model for the master.
Biography of Vladimir Borovikovsky Vladimir
Borovikovsky was born on July 24 (August 4), 1757 in the Ukrainian city of Mirgorod in the family of an icon painter. Vladimir made his first steps in art thanks to his father, who taught him to paint icons. Vladimir Borovikovsky, like his ancestors, was a Cossack. In 1774 he began to serve in the Mirgorod regiment, while he did not give up painting and always found time for them. In the early 1780s he retired and devoted himself entirely to art.
The artist closely communicated with Vasily Kapnist, a poet and public figure who was close to the nobility. Thanks to this acquaintance, the master received a large order: to paint the house that Catherine II planned to visit on her way to Crimea. Vladimir Borovikovsky created two panels, where he ironically depicted the Empress and Peter I. Catherine liked the work so much that she advised the young man to move to St. Petersburg to study at the local Academy of Arts. In 1788 he did just that, leaving his homeland forever.
The painter’s plans were not destined to come true: at the time of the move he was already 31 years old, and for this reason he was not accepted to the Academy. Then Borovikovsky began to take private lessons from portrait painters Johann Baptist von Lampi and Dmitry Levitsky. In 1798, the Austrian Lampi returned to Vienna, leaving Vladimir Borovikovsky a workshop in St. Petersburg. The artist settled in it and lived there the rest of his life.
The flowering of the master’s creativity was bright.
In 1802 he was appointed advisor to the Academy of Arts. The courtiers dreamed that the painter would paint their portrait. In the same year, the artist began to decorate the Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg. The work continued until 1811. Not everything was smooth: court intrigues were gaining momentum. As a result, Borovikovsky received only a ring with a diamond for his labor.
This was a turning point in the life of the master. The public ceased to be interested in him, Vladimir Borovikovsky left the courtyard and stopped painting portraits. For a while, the painter found a new hobby, having entered the mystical “Union of Brotherhood”. For the head of the community, Ekaterina Tatarinova, he painted pictures on religious themes. But soon this too ceased to inspire him. Mental discord, lack of support from loved ones (the master never started a family) led to problems with alcohol.
The artist always spent money easily: he sent parcels to his relatives in Mirgorod, distributed alms to the poor. Therefore, he did not manage to accumulate a fortune, and he bequeathed all his property to the needy.
Vladimir Borovikovsky left this world on April 6 (18), 1825 in St. Petersburg.
The most famous paintings
Vladimir Borovikovsky’s paintings arouse curiosity. It is always interesting how sincere the expressions on the faces of the characters are, what their fate is:
- “Catherine II on a walk in Tsarskoye Selo park” (1794) – the empress is shown majestic and, at the same time, slightly “homely”. The Empress was not too impressed with the work and did not buy it.
- “Portrait of Alexandra Pavlovna” (1796) – granddaughter of Catherine II. The painting depicts a benevolent girl with a gentle expression on her face.
- “Portrait of MI Lopukhina” (1797) – a representative of the count’s family Tolstoy. Maria Ivanovna is shown against the background of nature, emphasizing her sentimental image.
- “Portrait of E. A. Naryshkina” (1799) – Elena Alexandrovna, the maid of honor of the count’s court, was the wife of Arkady, the son of the famous commander Alexander Suvorov.
- “Portrait of Prince Kurakin” (1802) – the expression on Alexander Borisovich’s face betrays in him an aristocrat, a lover of luxury. The outfit and interior emphasize the wealth of the hero.
- The Evangelist Matthew (1804-1809) is a masterpiece of icon painting of the early 19th century, imbued with deep moral content. The work is kept in the State Russian Museum in the city of St. Petersburg.