Golovkin’s portrait is considered to be one of the first works made by the artist upon his return from Italy. Count Gavrila Ivanovich Golovkin, Vice-Chancellor, associate of Peter I, especially excelled in the diplomatic field thanks to his peculiar dexterity and cunning. The inscription on the back of the portrait proudly reports that “in the continuation of his chancellorship, he concluded 72 treatises with various governments.”
The attention of Golovkin with a clever, penetrating gaze and a firm willed fold of lips attracts attention; framed in a silver wig, it protrudes from the black background space. Nikitin managed to express in this portrait the ideal image of an energetic statesman – a man of the age of Peter. There is no pomp in his posture, but there is a sense of self-worth.
The majestic restraint of the pose, the St. Andrew’s ribbon and the star, the Polish Order of the White Eagle in the form of a cross on a blue bow add solemnity and significance.