Portrait of Gabriel Romanovich Derzhavin by Vladimir Borovikovsky

Portrait of Gabriel Romanovich Derzhavin by Vladimir Borovikovsky

In 1795, when the portrait of Derzhavin was created, VL Borovikovsky gained wide popularity: the Academy of Arts awarded him the title of academician. During this period, the young artist approached the literary and artistic circle of NA Lvov, in whose house he lived for many years. To the St. Petersburg intellectual circle adjoined, in addition to Derzhavin himself, the poets V. V. Kapnist and I. I. Chemnitser, the composer E. I. Fomin, the writer and musician F. P. Lvov, the architect P. S. Filippov, and recognized to it time and famous artist D. G. Levitsky.

Communication with the most educated figures of Russian culture had a significant impact on the formation of common views and tastes of the former icon painter from Mirgorod. Rousseau’s ideas, actively discussed in the circle, contributed to the development of sentimentalist sentiments in the artist’s work. The portrait of GD Derzhavin is not accidental in the work of the painter. He captured a man whom he knew well and whose value he valued. The picture is a traditional ceremonial portrait. We are shown the image of a senator, a member of the Russian Academy, a state husband, as is indicated by his uniform and awards. But at the same time, there is also a famous poet, enthusiastic about creativity, enlightenment ideals and social life.

This is evidenced by a writing table filled with manuscripts; A luxurious ink device carefully written out; Shelves with numerous books in the background. And the composition, and color saturation of color is quite in the spirit of the XVIII century. The image of GR Derzhavin is similar and recognizable. However, in this early portrait, being carried away by common pictorial stereotypes, the artist left outside the field of his vision the inner world of the poet. In 16 years VL Borovikovsky will write another portrait of GR Derzhavin – not so pretentious and more penetrating.

Alexander Benois gave a contradictory but rather perceptive description of the portrait manner of VL Borovikovsky: “If you compare the painting of Borovikovsky with the contemporary foreign, you can find only the English something equal to her in charm, and not only: you will have to give preference to the Russian master, as for purely technical perfection, before artists such as Ressel and even Gainsborough, but he, like Levitsky, was inferior to the latter precisely in the solution, in the spiritualization of the depicted faces or of his entire epoch. Borovikovsky was inferior to Levitsky, even though rarely, but his attitude toward those he depicts, and when it does not show itself, at least it reflects, as in a good mirror, the sincere that was clearly imprinted on the faces of those who, whom he wrote;

The whole mass of his portraits is represented by a family of sensualists and sensualists, gluttony, sloths, which, to be sure, to some extent, but with a very rough and flat understanding, paints his era. “

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