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Portrait of Maria Ivanovna Lopukhina - Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky. 53,5x72
The heyday of the work of Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky, a famous Russian painter, dates back to the reign of Catherine II and Paul I. At the imperial court solemn, ceremonial portraits are very much appreciated, and the artist excelled in this - he is a recognized master.
In a series of female paintings, Borovikovsky is revealed as a vivid representative of sentimental painting. In his chamber portraits, the ideal of a woman of his time is embodied.
“Portrait of M. I. Lopukhina” is an order of her husband, the jägermeister and the real chamberlain at the court of S. A. Lopukhin.
This painting - a recognized masterpiece of Borovikovsky - represents the absolute embodiment of the aesthetic ideas of sentimentalism. The image of Maria Lopukhina captivates with delicate melancholy, extraordinary softness of facial features and inner harmony, which is felt in all the artistic and pictorial elements of the picture: in the pose of the heroine, the rotation of the charming head, the expression on the face. All lines are harmonious and melodic, attention is drawn to the details. The canvas also shows flowers - plucked and already slightly drooping roses on the stem. What is it, a sketch of nature, or is there some meaning here? The symbolic meaning of the flowers was well known: the beauty of their flowering is fascinating, but very soon fades. Such is the beauty of a woman.
However, the artist is particularly attracted to the nuances in the state of the model, its elusive beauty, the deep sadness of the soul, which he conveys thanks to the almost imperceptible elements of symbolism and the subtle coloristic solution of the portrait.
According to art connoisseurs, “Portrait of Maria Ivanovna Lopukhina” is one of the author’s masterpieces. That it can be considered the beginning of a new stage in portraiture - when the artist does not mean the social status and significance of the hero of the picture, but his personal characteristics - mood, innermost experiences. This is expressed in the image not of attributes in the interior, but of the surrounding nature.
On the canvas Borovikovsky - Maria Lopukhina, a young girl of 18 years old, she is from a noble family, the daughter of a retired general Ivan Andreevich Tolstoy, the wife of Stepan Avraamovich Lopukhin. Maria just got married, and this portrait served her as a gift from her husband. The portrait fascinates and captivates from the first glance.
The girl is depicted against a background of nature, blurred and as if in a haze through which Russian motifs are visible - birch trees, flowers, clouds. Maria in a white, simple dress with a blue belt, covering her figure in the "Greek" fashion, in a casually draped shawl.
A sweet, charming face is young, fresh and tender, she has a dreamy look directed specifically at you, and a light mysterious smile. According to the author, the whole picture should create a sense of harmony and unity of nature and man.
The beauty of the girl gracefully and naturally merges with the beauty of the landscape. How the inclined birch harmonizes with the natural and smooth bend of the girl’s figure, how cornflowers respond to the color of the belt, how the golden ears convey the bend of the hand, the color and texture of the bracelet.
Borovikovsky managed to convey not only a striking resemblance to the original, but also to fill the canvas with poetry, expressed in the airiness of the letter and the delicate range of colors. Using muted silver, pale blue, pale green colors as the basis, the author achieves a special lyricism and sensuality of the image.
According to the contemporaries of the artist and art historians of our time, the portrait of Lopukhina is the ideal of a woman of exactly the Russian type, to whom, according to the canons of sentimentalism, Borovikovsky gave the features of tender sensitivity, and the image of nature as an integral part of the female soul, its essence.
Thanks to the portrait of Borovikovsky, the mysterious beauty of Maria Lopukhina has been preserved to this day. And the fate of the girl turned out to be harsh to her, Maria died at the age of 23 from consumption.
It is interesting that after her death, rumors swept through the city that it was precisely this portrait that killed a very healthy and cheerful girl. On the sidelines it was whispered that supposedly any girl who looked at this portrait would die, because the spirit of the deceased embodied in him. Most likely, these rumors are connected with the father of Mary, he was a member of the Masonic lodge, was fond of mysticism and had a huge influence on the minds of others.
To some extent, Borovikovsky is “to blame” for these rumors - this is the strength of his artistic talent, his impact on people, the high aesthetic component of the portrait, the vitality and authenticity of the heroine depicted on it.
Only after almost 100 years did these rumors cease to excite people. After the famous Russian businessman and collector Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov, he acquired a painting for the collection of his gallery.