Portrait of the poet Vasily Ivanovich Maikov by Fedor Rokotov

Portrait of the poet Vasily Ivanovich Maikov by Fedor Rokotov

This work of F. S. Rokotov is sometimes called the first psychological portrait in Russian painting. The acuteness and completeness of the characteristics, the penetration into the spiritual essence of the person depicted, the ability not to restrict the transmission of external similarity noticeably distinguish this masterpiece of the early Rokotov among the portraits of that time. V. I. Maikov belonged to the enlightened Moscow noble intelligentsia, which was joined by a young artist.

The assistant to the Moscow governor, the master is an epicurean, Maikov was also a capable writer – his poems were

subsequently praised by Pushkin. With spiteful means, Rokotov gives a convincing description of this bright and multifaceted person. Temperamentally and at the same time, a gently molded face breathes confidence and complacency.

An ironic smile touches the ruddy lips of a sybarite and gourmet, an insightful look glows with the mind. Although pictorial virtuosity here is not an end in itself, one can not but admire the skill with which Rokotov managed to harmonize the complementary colors of a green caftan and gold-embroidered red cuffs using the unifying golden tone of the translucent underfloor.

In subsequent years, the nature of Rokotov’s work changed, and the portrait of Maikov remains his best creation from the 1760s. Acquired by the Council of the Tretyakov Gallery from A. Maikova in St. Petersburg in 1907.

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