Borovikovsky wrote Catherine II on a walk in the park of Tsarskoe Selo. I liked the portrait, and the artist wrote his version. So there were two almost identical portraits of Catherine II, one of which – with the Rumyantsevsky obelisk in the background – is in the Russian Museum, and the other – with the Chesme Column – in the Tretyakov Gallery. The portrait of Catherine is interesting for the novelty of the idea.
The Empress is not depicted in the splendor of royal regalia, like most artists of the eighteenth century, and not a wise legislator, as in Levitsky’s famous painting,
Catherine was not enthusiastic about the portrait and did not buy it, however, Borovikovsky introduced this portrait as another stroke to the image of the great Russian empress. It should be said that the portrait of Catherine found a peculiar reflection in Russian literature. He involuntarily recalled reading the “Captain’s Daughter” by Pushkin. Pushkin undoubtedly used the picture of Borovikovsky in describing Marya Ivanovna’s meeting with the Empress: “Marya Ivanovna went about the beautiful meadow, where a monument was recently erected in honor of the recent victories of Count Peter Alexandrovich Rumyantsev.
Suddenly a white dog of English breed barked and ran to meet her. Marya Ivanovna was frightened and stopped. At that very moment a pleasant woman’s voice was heard: “Do not be afraid, she will not bite.” And Marya Ivanovna saw a lady in a white morning dress, in a night cap and a joker. She felt forty lei. Her face, full and ruddy, expressed importance and calm, and blue eyes and a slight smile had an inexpressible charm. “