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Portrait of Maria Ivanovna Lopukhina

Painting, 1797, 72×53.5 cm

Description of the artwork «Portrait of Maria Ivanovna Lopukhina»

Many art critics agree that "Portrait of Maria Lopukhina" - top of sentimentalism in Russian painting.

The painting by Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky is an example of the amazing coherence of man and nature. It seems that nature is part of the soul of a woman, and she herself is a part of the world. Blue cornflowers echo the color of the belt on the dress, fresh blush on the cheeks of the young woman serves as the antithesis of fading roses, carelessly hanging arm in harmony with the inclined ears. All these repeats, contrasts and rhythmic compounds form a single whole. Portrait and landscape background smoothly flow into each other.

Innovation of Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky

With this picture of Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky began a new stage in Russian portrait painting. For the first time, we see how the elements of the landscape, and not the furnishings, emphasize and accentuate the depicted image, focusing not on the social significance or status of the heroine and not even on her appearance as such, but on the intimate aspects of her character, the deep movements of the soul of the depicted woman.

In this, of course, you can catch the influence of English sentimentalism. First of all, the paintings influenced Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky. Angelique Kaufman. The German artist studied painting in England and was very popular in those years in Russia. She has V. L. Borovikovsky and adopted the style of using landscape motifs in the portrait. Catherine II purchased some of Kaufman's paintings based on the “Sentimental Journey” by Lawrence Stern. For example, "Mad Mary" and is now stored in the Hermitage.

Mystic "Portrait of Maria Lopukhina"

The image of fading roses in the picture is interpreted as a symbol of the transience of female beauty. In the case of Lopukhina, this symbolism appeared literally.

Mary comes from a noble family, she is the eldest child in the family (there were still four sisters and two brothers). The father of the family, Ivan Andreevich Tolstoy, was fond of mysticism and was listed as the Master of the Masonic Lodge, which would make a substantial contribution to the rumors about the portrait of Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky in the future. Maria Lopukhina, by the way, is distantly related to Leo Tolstoy - the famous writer is her cousin nephew.

Maria, an 18-year-old girl, by parental arrangement, as most often happened in those years, was married to Stepan Lopukhin, the real chamberlain at the court of Paul I. The husband was 10 years older. The portrait, written by Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky, became his first gift to a young wife.

The marriage concluded by parents was not always able to provide family happiness. Maria Lopukhina - did not provide, and even the portrait was not destined to become a happy talisman. The real intimacy with her husband did not work out for Maria, and at the age of 23 she died from incurable at the time of consumption. And although later the poet Jacob Polonsky would write about the picture and its heroine: “But Borovikovsky saved her beauty”, they would hardly have agreed with him in those years. After all, an ominous rumor spread around Moscow that he was guilty of Lopukhina's death ... a portrait!

Superstition said that if a young girl looked at the picture at close range, she would certainly die in the near future. According to some information, the portrait was attributed to the death of ten young ladies for extradition. In terrible whispers, the townspeople told each other rumors: they say, Maria’s father pulled the spirit of her dead daughter into the picture, and now he is kidnapping the lives of young women who dare to come close to the portrait.

Praskovya Tolstaya's niece of Maria Lopukhina was not afraid of these stories and took the picture to herself. She later married the Moscow governor Perfilyev. Pavel Tretyakov saw the picture in their house, wished to buy it for his gallery, and he succeeded.

Author: Alain Esaulova
from 1450 rub
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Portrait

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1797

Size: 72×53.5 cm

Artwork in selections: 45 selections

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