Switzerland • 1741−1807
Among the comparatively small number of female painters with international popularity, Angelica Kauffman (Angelika Kauffmann) belongs to one of the first places. And even if you have never heard of this name, with its products you probably visually familiar. Gallant scene in explanation of the ancient myths and biblical stories at the time were so popular that they have found application in industry, without exaggeration, scale: miniatures from paintings Kaufman was decorated with utensils, boxes, furniture, book covers. Fedot Shubin, the largest Russian sculptor of the XVIII century, decorating the Marble Palace in St. Petersburg, took the prints of her works. Still industrial design no no Yes and remember "Sleeping nymph and shepherd" or "Venus tried to persuade Helen to love Paris" Angelica Kaufman. Idyllic spirit and classical correctness of her work, soften the heart and caress the eye, but in the biography Kaufman was something of an idyll, but also from the exciting adventure novel.

About her childhood with confidence we can say, that the Angelica would never have become an artist if not for her father, Joseph Johann Kauffman, the Austrian painter with not too much talent but a great intuition, which helped him in time to see daughter's talents far exceeding his own. Until his death, the father may be the closest Angelica's man, supporting and guiding it in all circumstances.

From his youth Joseph Johann Kauffman was characterized by an indomitable urge to change places: Angelika was born in the Swiss town of Chur; the baby not a year old when the family moved to Italy, the roads which they had to travel, because Josef Johann, moving, found orders for the painting of the Italian churches. His daughter started drawing very early and in a completely girlish was fascinated by French Rococo – her first idols were Francois Boucher and Henri was Gravel. In 13 years, the Angelika first came to Rome, an art Mecca, and the success of a young German woman with her right, classic rounded style of writing and great reverence to the ancient traditions do not have to wait long. When Kaufman elect the members of the Florentine Academy of fine arts, she'll only be 21; when she gets membership of the Academy of St. Luke in Rome – incomplete 25.

Kaufman accompanies and worldly success: she is pretty fluent in four languages, musician, sings beautifully. After moving from Italy to England, where live more than 15 years, Angelika was close to the court, wrote monarchs and high-ranking courtiers, enjoyed the location of the British Academy of arts.

Famous Hermitage-portrait of Angelica in hat with silk bow critics consider much embellished, showing our heroine and prettier and younger than she was at the time of its writing. However, there is nothing shameful for Kaufman in this embellishment there: not only women, but also the "gallant century" with its cult of eternal youth and visual appeal imposed on the artist of their demands. However, other, far more prosaic, self-portraits Kaufmanand memoirs of contemporaries talk about her as a woman of a pleasant and comely, with a handsome, delicate face, large, intelligent and a bit sad eyes.

In the late 1760s the court of London, passed on the rumor that Angelica won the heart of the Joshua Reynolds the founder and permanent President of the Royal Academy of arts, the most famous (and, incidentally, the most expensive at the time) British painter. Sir Joshua wrote a portrait of Kaufman, it is a sign of reciprocal appreciation wrote sir Joshua; a confirmed old bachelor was fond of Angelica, made an offer, but unexpectedly was refused. What was the reason now it's hard to say whether the artist is afraid to be shadowed by the huge fame of Reynolds, whether under the influence of the ideas of sentimentalism, but at that time in the air, not decided on the marriage without passionate love. Not for nothing did Kaufman with such success, he painted scenes of the sentimentalists stern and Abelard ("Crazy Mary", "Farewell of Abelard and Eloise").

Apparently, Reynolds was a good psychologist, because it is on the understanding of the mindsets Kaufman would build his revenge. One day he will introduce to the Angelika with beautiful and extremely eloquent young man who was crazy inmate of the London literary and artistic salons. He was presented by Earl of Mountain, philanthropist and patron of the arts, although in fact it was neither the one nor the other – his name was Frederick Brandt, he was a hardened adventurer and a gigolo. And it is here that Angelika, the dictates of sentimentalism, believe it is not the mind, and the feeling that erupted in her to the pseudo-count. However, she hesitated to give consent to the marriage, not knowing how to perceive living in another country beloved father. But then horn said that he is accused of a political crime, and the marriage of Kaufman, a favorite of the Queen, may be his salvation... All secular Europe then followed it a novel, but when Kaufman became the wife of horn, Reynolds told on that fake count just used her gullibility. Not to worry about a monstrous deception, Kaufman filed for divorce. Did she pay her husband compensation, returned to Italy and later long lived in seclusion, recovering from wounds. Based on this history already in the nineteenth century, Victor Hugo will create drama "RUY Blaz". Kaufman and she will write a heartfelt picture "Farewell of Hector and Andromache" – an allegory about his broken heart.

Johann Wolfgang Goethe considered the artist one of the most intelligent and educated women of her time and, being in Rome, only visited her house. 1777-1778-m date portrait of Goethe the brush of the artist – wonderful, though the artist herself was worried that I was not able to capture on canvas the many facets of nature Goethe. And the poet wondered: such a deep understanding of the art, Kaufman remains "inconceivable humble".

"She's very strong in the portrait"– wrote about Kaufman's greatest connoisseur of antiquity Joachim Winckelmann. And among all the portraits of her best women. By the end of the "gallant century" about it already it was well known even in Russia.

Widowed in 1794, and again wanted to get married in 1795 Gavrila Derzhavin in his poem "Angelica Kauffman" first sings itself "zhivopisets Presevo"and then turns to her with a request for amorous assistance: "Write my Milena, blond face..." Milena Derzhavin called Darya Dyakonov, a longtime friend where you were going to get married, she is 23 years younger than him. And why did Kaufman write it? Very simply: "To coldly looking at all, love only me!" And Derzhavin explains, "Kaufman always wrote of a figure tall, slender, with the Greek people" like this, what was Diakonova. To the death of Derzhavin Darya Alekseevna will be his faithful wife, but we know it is still in portrait not Kaufman (apparently, it was not written), and Borovikovsky. Derzhavin in his usual mischievous manner, I just wanted to say in poetry that the power of painting, Kaufman is able to ignite in the woman "Lubovna spark".

The artist herself once again marry a little-known Italian artist Antonio Zuccileft in history only as the husband of Angelica Kauffman, who successfully survive – in life and in art. Childless and lonely, Kaufman dies in Rome in 1807, the year.

Author: Anna Yesterday
Go to biography


View all publications


All exhibitions of the artist
View all artist's artworks
Whole feed