Rokotov was born in the thirties of XVIII century in the village of Vorontsovo (included in the present territory of Moscow) in a family of serfs. He received his primary art education under the guidance of L. J. Le Lorrain and P. de rotary, having learned the fine principles of the Rococo style. In 1760 by order noticed his grandee and patron I. I. Shuvalov painter was the Academy of arts in St. Petersburg.
In 1765 awarded the title of academician. Since the end of 1766 lived and worked in Mosquitocidal known works Rokotov date back to 1790-mi.
The artist died in Moscow 12 (24) December 1808.
The life of Fyodor Stepanovich Rokotov, the most poetic portrait of XVIII century, has long remained a mystery. The artist, who enjoyed enormous fame during his lifetime, after his death was forgotten for the whole century. Only the XX century back is the name of Russian art.
For many years there was a version of noble descent Rokotov. However, recently found documents it became known that Fyodor Stepanovich Rokotov was a native of serfs near Moscow, Vorontsovo estate, which belonged to Prince P. I. Repnin. He was born in 1735, and the first mention of the artist found in 1757 in connection with the creation of the «Portrait of unknown young man guards in uniform» (1757, state Tretyakov gallery). At the same time the picture was written «the Cabinet I. I. Shuvalov, known by copies of the student Rokotov A. Zyablov (1779, GOS. historical Museum).
I. I. Shuvalov, the first President of the Russian Academy of arts, strongly patron of the young artist and his „verbal command“ Rokotov in 1760 was adopted by the student in the Academy of the Success of the artist attracted attention, and he soon became known to the Court, and in 1762 for the big parade „Portrait of Peter III“ (RM) receives a rank of the associate. To the best works of the early period of creativity Rokotov is the Portrait of Catherine II in coronation dress» (1763, state Tretyakov gallery), which served as a kind of a standard that has been created, and a portrait of the Empress’s lover Grigory Orlov (1762−1763, state Tretyakov gallery).
Ceremonial portraits Rokotov have a decorative beauty, skillful drawing. Under certain requirements for building works in this genre artist every time finds interesting version of the song.
In the 60s of Rokotov and writes a series of intimate portraits, mostly male. They felt a great interest in the originality of appearance of the human being, personality character. Expressive portraits smart fine nobleman I. G. Orlova (state Russian Museum). Portrait of a statesman and writer I. L. Golenishchev-Kutuzov, uncle of the famous military leader (state Russian Museum). Particularly notable portrait Century I. Maikov (approx. 1765, TG) whose appearance for languid softness guessed insight, ironic mind talented poet. Sensual person Maikov written tangible, material and colour portrait based on the combination of green and red, emphasizes full-blooded, vitality image. This work — one of the most significant in the art of XVIII century. In these years Rokotov is in great glory. He gets the number of orders that are unable to cope with them alone. So the artist takes on the performance of only the main part of portraits writes head: clothing and other items fulfill his assistants.
In 1775 for a copy from the picture Giordano Venus, Cupid and Satyr, made by the engraving of the Gulf of Finland Bartolozzi, Rokotov receives the title of academician and permanently leaves the capital.
Moscow, visited by Rokotov, at that time was more creative freedom in comparison with the official St. Petersburg. In Moscow deployed activity of the largest Russian enlightener N. I. Novikova, there are talented playwright A. P. Sumarokov, a famous poet M. M. Kheraskov creates a literary circle of young people. In this enlightened, progressive environment Outlook is formed Rokotov, which clearly begins to show in his work since the late 60s.
The last official order, made not later 1768, was a series of portraits of Trustees of the Moscow educational house — I. N. Tyutchev (TG), C. C. Gagarin (RM), P. I. Vyrubova (state Tretyakov gallery). They felt the desire Rokotov to simplicity even in the solution of state portraits, and in subsequent years he devotes itself exclusively work on intimate portrait. It was at this time is peculiar, «mokotowska» manner of painting, his personal creative style. Most often, the master writes oval portraits, but the shape of the canvas emphasizes the General rhythm of the work. Then remove, bringing the figure, Rokotov makes it easy turning, as a rule, is a bust. Even a minor, discreet motion of the model are associated with the human condition. In rostovskoy characteristic image is very important expressive eyes and facial expressions, and the artist does not strive to specific transfer mood, rather he wants to create a feeling of being elusive, mimoletnosti human senses.
His works surprise gentle, subtle beauty of colors. The colouring, based usually taken three colors by transitions expresses the richness and complexity of the inner life of the model. Finally, the artist uses a kind of chiaroscuro, highlighting the face and as if dissolving secondary details.
These traits rokosovskogo creativity most wholly manifested in women’s portraits, which occupied a special place in the art of XVIII century. At the time of his creative heyday painter creates a gallery of beautiful images of women: A. P. Stryyskoy (1772, state Tretyakov gallery), W. E. Novosiltseva (1780, state Tretyakov gallery), E. C. Santi (1785, RM), V. N. Surovtseva (1780, RM). Each of them deeply personal, beautiful in its own way. Like beatific vision arises from haze pearl-pink tones face Stryyskoy with huge sad and thoughtful eyes. Her image filled with shining purity, everlasting beauty of youth. The Majesty, the dignity, self-confidence, the ability to think deeply felt in the way Novosiltseva. Pale, thin face, a sharp look slightly narrowed eyes, impatient barely perceptible smile of the lips is cold-ironic Santi. An exquisite combination of pink and green hues underlines the aristocracy of the image. Finally, Surovtseva-charming feminine, with a plain Russian face, and direct, kind eyes clear, shining eyes.
And yet, despite individuality, in female images Rokotov have in common is a complex spiritual world, the richness and beauty of the inner life, the exalted order of the human senses. Revealing hidden in the human soul, the artist is always something leaves unsaid. This gives rostovskim portraits charm of mystery, poetic.
Poetry of these mysterious images beautifully expressed in one of his poems N. Z:
You remember from the dark past
Barely wrapped in satin,
With portraits Rokotov again
Looked Struiskaya on us?
Her eyes are like two fog,
A half smile, half crying.
Her eyes are like two deception,
Covered with mist failures.
The connection of two mysteries,
Crazy tenderness attack,
Prevoshodnye death throes.
«honor, grace, dignity peace» — expressed Rokotov in the men’s portraits of representatives of aristocratic intelligentsia: Surovtseva (1780, RM), poet A. P. Sumarokov (1777, GOS. historical Museum), a talented diplomat A. M. Obrezkova (1777, state Tretyakov gallery). The last of these portraits is especially interesting scenic subtlety and deep penetration into the nature of man is energetic, smart, shrewd.
Contemporary Rokotov and his passionate admirer N. E. Struisky wrote that the artist worked very quickly and easily, «almost playing». Even in his declining years the artist works a lot and inspired.
About the last years of life of the master it is only known that he lived almost entirely in Moscow. His family from the artist was not, and his closest relatives and heirs was nephews.
Died Fyodor Stepanovich Rokotov December 24, 1808 in Moscow and was buried at Novo-Spassky monastery. (50 biographies of masters of Russian art. L., Aurora. 1970. Ñ.38)