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Vladimir
Lukich Borovikovsky
Russia 
1757−1825
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In the fate of Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky intertwined vivid scenes — it seems they would be enough for several destinies. Natural, from the family inherited gift and sudden luck, which allowed him to reveal fully. Ukrainian generous Mirgorod and strict northern Palmyra, which has become a new homeland. Talent-nugget and high-ranking patrons, lack of academic education and training from the best masters, flourishing and favor of the public, departure from icon painting to the portrait genre, and from there to mysticism, fame and the oblivion that soon followed. A modest icon painter, an artist at court, who wrote to the empress, a mystic … It’s all about him.

Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky Born on July 24 (August 4), 1757 in Mirgorod, which in a few decades will glorify another famous compatriot Nikolai Gogol. Some researchers believe that the Borovikovsky clan is a simple Cossack, others call them petty gentry. Experts agree on one thing — the father of the future artist Luka Borovik, and his elder brothers Vasily and Ivan painted icons in the surrounding temples. Vladimir after military service, too, took up church painting. His early works are classified as examples of Ukrainian baroque.

A smile of fate for Borovikovsky was the journey of Catherine II to the Crimea in 1787. The artist was closely acquainted with the provincial leader of the nobility, Vasily Kapnist, and on his behalf painted two panels for the traveling palace, in which the empress stayed in Mirgorod. One of them depicted Catherine II, explaining her order to the Greek sages. On the second, Peter I was portrayed allegorically as a plowman, and Catherine II acted as a seeker. Pictures liked the highest personage, the empress expressed a desire to see their author. After talking with Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky, she urged him to go to Petersburg and enter the Academy of Arts. And the empress to disobey is not the case …

In 1788, Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky left Ukraine forever and went to St. Petersburg.

Because he was no longer young — at that time he was 31 years old — the way to the Academy of Arts was closed. Since 1792, he took individual lessons from the famous Austrian professor of portrait painting, master of ceremonial portrait Johanna Baptista Lampi. Another of his secret teachers was the famous portrait painter, academician of the Imperial Academy of Arts. Dmitry Levitsky.

Thanks to the patronage of friends circulating in the highest circles, Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky wrote the sovereign in 1794. The portrait turned out to be unusually chamber and lyrical. It shows Catherine II on a walk in Tsarskoselsky Park. Later in this park Pushkin will arrange a meeting of Masha with the empress in "The Captain’s Daughter", and the Empress will appear exactly as the artist depicted her — somewhat "homely", condescending, majestic and patronizing. The following year, Vladimir Lukich was awarded the title of academician.

In 1798, Lampi returned to Vienna, leaving his studio in Petersburg on Millionnaya Street Borovikovsky. The artist lived there until the end of his days.

The heyday of Borovikovsky was not long, but bright. In 1802, he was appointed advisor to the Academy of Arts. Vladimir Borovikovsky was not a court artist as such, but he successfully rotated in court circles and was in demand. Why, he was really famous and fashionable. The range of Borovikovsky’s models is impressive: he wrote Grand Duchess, Pavel’s daughters, Maria Fedorovna, Emperor Paul I. Naturally, after members of the imperial family, court senior officials, including the Lopukhins, Gagarins, and Kurakin, hurried to pose for Borovikovsky. Here it is, the peak of fame, everyone wants Borovikovsky to write them!

The painter brilliantly manifested itself in various forms of portraiture. In his heritage, we meet and chamber, intimate work, and miniatures, and ceremonial, monumental portraits. And it is obvious that these are no longer canvases of sentimentalism, the portraits of Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky are clearly painted during the period of changing epochs. They feel the imprint of mature classicism, Empire.

At the court, ceremonial portraits were especially appreciated. And in this area, Borovikovsky certainly succeeded: he wrote such statesmen as diplomat Alexander Kurakin, Privy Councilor Dmitry Troschinsky, Turkic prince Murtaza Kuli-Khan. By the way, about everyday life. For the most first portrait of Kurakin the artist received 700 rubles. For comparison, the professorial salary in those years was 2,000 rubles per year.

No less valued chamber, intimate female portraits by Borovikovsky. This, of course, first famous portrait of maria lopukhina, as well as images of Elena Naryshkina, Ekaterina Arsenieva, Olga Filippova, through which the artist managed to surprisingly subtly convey the elusive, tremulous movements of the woman’s mental life. Female intimate portraits are united by a gentle poetic feeling, attitude to a woman as to a Muse.

In 1802, the artist was attracted to the design of the Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg. This work continued until 1811. Unfortunately, court intrigues led to the fact that when awarding Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky was pushed aside, not even to the second, but to the third plan. All that he received for his many years of work is a diamond ring.

It was the beginning of the end. Success left Borovikovsky. The artist retained brilliant skill and lightness of hand, but the public was already fascinated by new names, the heyday of glory was coming Oresta Kiprensky. Borovikovsky left the court, lived in solitude, became disillusioned with portrait painting and no longer painted portraits.

Vladimir Lukich did not create a family. In letters to his relatives in Ukraine, he said: "My whole family is a cook and students." The students lived in his apartment on Millionnaya. One of the students was an artist Alexey Venetsianov.

The painter tried to find joy in mysticism, fascinated by the flow of Catherine Tatarinova "Union of Brotherhood." And according to some information — being carried away primarily by herself. In 1819, the artist joined the "Union". It is known that he wrote for Tatarinova many paintings on religious subjects for free. At first, Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky felt inspired, it seemed to him that he had found his place. Pretty soon, however, visiting the community stopped bringing him joy. "One arrogance, pride and contempt," the painter stated bitterly. Trying to overcome spiritual discord, the artist is addicted to alcohol.

Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky did not save his fortune. Even in those years when money was easy for him, he distributed them just as easily. He regularly sent parcels to relatives in Mirgorod, and every Saturday he distributed generous alms to a whole crowd of poor people who gathered at his apartment. After the death of the artist found four thousand rubles. This is half the amount that in the best years was paid to him for only one portrait of Exarch Anthony.

Author: Alain Esaulova
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Artworks by the artist
183 artworks total
Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky. Portrait of Prince Alexander Borisovich Kurakin
5
Portrait of Prince Alexander Borisovich Kurakin
1801, 259×175 cm
Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky. Portrait of Maria Ivanovna Lopukhina
25
Portrait of Maria Ivanovna Lopukhina
1797, 72×53.5 cm
Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky. Catherine II strolling in the Park Tsarskoselsky with the Chesme column in the background
12
Catherine II strolling in the Park Tsarskoselsky with the Chesme column in the background
1794, 94.5×66 cm
Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky. Portrait Of Ardalion Petrovich Novosiltsev
2
Portrait Of Ardalion Petrovich Novosiltsev
1807, 73×60.3 cm
Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky. Portrait Of G. R. Derzhavin
3
Portrait Of G. R. Derzhavin
1811
Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky. Portrait Of Catherine Ancharovoj.
1
Portrait Of Catherine Ancharovoj.
1820, 76.3×61 cm
Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky. Portrait of the poet Gavrila Romanovich Derzhavin
1
Portrait of the poet Gavrila Romanovich Derzhavin
1795, 28.7×23 cm
Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky. Portrait Of Ekaterina Nikolaevna Arsenyeva
4
Portrait Of Ekaterina Nikolaevna Arsenyeva
1790-th , 71.5×56 cm
Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky. Portrait of Paul I in a white dalmatic
4
Portrait of Paul I in a white dalmatic
1799, 49×33 cm
View 183 artworks by the artist