He studied at the Antwerp Academy of fine arts (1723-1727). In 1727 he returned to Russia and began to work in a Picturesque team of the Office of the buildings. From 1731 the head of this team.
At this time, under his leadership, there is the painting of the interior of the Cathedral creates a picturesque design of a triumphal arch, created in honor of the Empress Anna Ivanovna in St. Petersburg and many other works in the field of monumental painting.
Matveev Andrey Matveevich —the famous Russian portrait painter, one of the founders of Russian secular painting, master of monumental and decorative art of the first Russian foreign pensioner who received a full academic education, first head of the Scenic team in the St. Petersburg Office of the buildings (1731-1739.).
Only thirty-seven years of life were released to Andrew Matveyev — the artist whose painting skills "identified the distinctive bright face of Russian art of XVIII century" and was a significant milestone in its development.
Biography of the painter, composed the crumbs tireless researchers, is still replete with white spots. In the confessional books were able to establish only the year of birth Matveeva and determine what origin he was from the commoners. But neither place of birth nor the name of the father, and hence its first name, still unknown.
In "the Art newspaper" in the mid-nineteenth century an unknown author without reference to any sources in detail told about the legendary meeting in the Novgorod St. Sophia Cathedral, fifteen-year-old Andrew with Peter I, who persuaded him to go with him to St. Petersburg to learn the beautiful craft.
However, nothing special in this meeting no. The Tsar-reformer and Builder who always felt the need for professional and gathered talented young men throughout Russia, and then sent to the training school for foreigners. And if initially he was interested in the craft and science, in 1716, this desire extended to all the arts. The first paintings of Peter seniors went to different countries and cities. The brothers Nikitin were sent to Florence by four architects in Rome.
Matveev studied at favorite Peter 1 Holland, in the Amsterdam Studio of the famous portrait painter Arnold Schalken. Watching the retired agent Vandenburg reported that only one pupil does not cause him any trouble. Andrew never drank, rioted, and worked hard and showed outstanding ability and diligence. And already on the fourth year of study he reports in a letter to Catherine I of study results and sends in Petersburg two of his paintings. "Namely partrety Your Majesty, I nieaktualne slave Vashj copied from my master. Herewith portret master agent Vandenburgh".
Two years later, Matveev again sends its work in Russia (not preserved), and, apparently, they were executed with sufficient skill to budding student were allowed to continue their education.
6 Dec 1723 Andrew was enrolled in the Antwerp Academy of fine arts (Belgium), where his teacher was unknown in our time, the artist Server. The teacher of the celebrated Academy, warmed by the rays of the Rubenesque glory, gave Matveyev good training. From a pensioner's years, amounting to half of his conscious life, remained a lot of bills to pay and only four pictures: one, the allegorical, mythological and two portrait.
Expressing his condolences over the death of Peter I, Matveev presents Catherine 1 "Allegory of painting" (1725), performed in watercolor technique on oak.
And if the "Allegory of painting" completed in halftone technique, with a soft glaze, intimate, without the Royal regalia "Portrait of Peter I" easily and freely painted on canvas. All academic work is confirmed by that of Matveev possessed beautiful manners, mastered composite construction and features diverse works.
In Russia Matveev returned in 1727 an experienced master of the European level, confident in their abilities, and immediately managed to occupy a position equal to the "first court painter" L. Caravaca. The situation in the country in the late 1720s-early 1730s, a few had to be creative. Reigning persons, often replaced on the throne, not interested in Russian art, and especially the fate of the young artist. Reign of Anna Ioannovna eradicated all the talented Russian. It was a time of arrests, citations (brothers Nikitin), executions (P. Eropkin, A. Volynsky), the ongoing festivities and the dominance of foreign temporary worker. Thus, the head of the St. Petersburg Office of the buildings was occupied by the former hairdresser A. Karmadon.
It was under the leadership of this "talent" had to work Matveyev. Was only saved by lack of "scenic masters", and it was littered with numerous art works. What tasks performed have received an academic education Andrew! His skill was multi-faceted and versatile: icons, paintings of the ceiling and triumphal gates, ornaments, portraits, ongoing repair and restoration of monumental and decorative works...
With the arrival of Matveeva in a Picturesque command of the Office of the buildings (1727g,), and especially after he became its leader (1731г.), experienced artists, apprentices and students become a truly unified team. He was able to direct the talent of each and build a learning system so that it then formed the basis of the teaching in the St. Petersburg Academy of arts. Matveev overgrown students who sought at its beginning, as he was a great teacher and a thoughtful, caring and gentle person.
A lot could learn from him, because the artist was the first Russian master of universal: the portraitist, historical painter and undoubtedly the most talented muralist and decorator.
He worked closely with specialists from different professions, but most often with prominent architects Trezzini and Zemtsov. With them, the artist began his artistic career in the Summer garden (the house), singing "land and sea battles" (1727-1730) for the hall of glorious celebrations.
A year later, Matveev began to the fine arts in the Peter and Paul Cathedral (1728-1733.). For the first time the vaults and walls were decorated with frescoes, and a huge easel oil paintings on canvas ("the Ascension", "fomino assurance" — destroyed by fire in 1756, the image of the "agony in the garden", "Peter and Paul", "the last supper"). At the same time Matveev supervises all works and "compose model" for other artists.
And when he "threw" on the design of a Triumphal gate (Anikovsky, the Admiralty, the Trinity, 1731) on the occasion of the entry of the Empress in the capital (a large portrait of Anna Ioannovna "growth" and sketches for paintings done by students), architect Trezzini urgently demanded the return of Matveev's works in the Cathedral, so he was irreplaceable.
So, not finishing one thing, the artist proceeds to the next. Uploaded numerous reports and bills, he is fussing about the salaries of their subordinates, distribute art materials and even firewood, and countless leads and expert appraisal work.
Since the mid 30-ies Matveev already occupied by paintings of the Senate hall of the Twelve colleges (now the Peter hall of St. Petersburg University). He was the author of all the sketches and partly by large panels for huge pendant light. His allegorical paintings on the theme of Virtues due to the flow of the ceiling constantly "refreshed" to the extent that he was unrecognizable "smeared". Only in 1966, the restorers were able to partially restore wealth MATVEEVSKOE paints and varnishes.
Along with large-scale works in "the New summer house" Tsarskoye Selo, in the New Winter Palace and Peterhof, the painter was commanded to paint the carriages of the Royal stables, to decorate the Imperial gallery or better yet, update the mural in the Royal pigeon-house.
A huge creative and physical stress undermined the already weak health of Matveev, but his scenic art has been so popular that, contrary to all regulations, he was allowed to work out of,"state-owned shops or on the street at the construction site, which was appointed by his works", and in the home. So, most of the icons for the Church of Simeon and Anna (1733-1739). the artist wrote home, where, after his death still have dozens of unfinished images. In the few extant religious compositions, there is warmth, humility and reality of the image.
This is especially true for portraits, for which Matveev still managed to find time in the first years after his return to Russia.
Paired portraits of spouses Golitsyn (1728) good even by nature and letters seem to emphasize the difference of their temperaments.
Soft, friendly attitude to people, the former is one of the best human qualities Matveeva, emerges in the portrait of the Italian doctors I. A. Azzaretti written between 1728-732. look At the viewer attentive eyes intelligent and kind person. Easy brushwork opens quietly, without a shadow of zanoveski, the living image of the doctor.
All the power of the picturesque talent, sincerity, openness, purity of feelings Andrey Matveev has invested in "self-Portrait with his wife". It was written in the year of marriage (1729) artist on the young Irina Stepanovna Antropovo, daughter of master blacksmith, and a cousin of the famous painter.
"Boldly and openly for the first time in Russian painting, he praised the woman. As the faithful companion of men, worthy of love and respect. Freely and cheerfully he said about his feelings to his beloved. Excited and yet very delicately told me about that deep secret, what you've never dared to tell medieval, old art. How many cherished admiration and tenderness felt in the gesture with which he brings his girlfriend to the edge of the picture. What a pleasure it notes melodious line of her neck, the flexible, musical hands, slightly noticeable smile on his lips, slightly subdued luster eyes. The reverent gesture of joined hands, a light touch of the shoulders, a barely perceptible turn toward each other — earthly human joy, so earnestly said about the painting, the critic V. G. Andreev.
We can only regret how little Matveyev was released such happy moments. His short but fruitful life ended April 23, 1739, the Work of Andrei Matveyev and his work to establish a national school of painting had a great influence on the development of Russian art in the preparation of such artists as I. Ya. Vishnyakov and A. P. Antropov, who became "a bridge to the flourishing of arts in the second half of the century."