Portrait of Maria Ivanovna Lopukhina, Borovikovsky, 1797 – description

Description of the picture:

Portrait of Maria Ivanovna Lopukhina – Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky. Canvas, oil. 53,5×72

The heyday of the work of Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky, a famous Russian painter, fell during the reign of Catherine II and Paul I. At the imperial court, festive, ceremonial portraits are very much appreciated, and the painter excelled in this – he is a universally recognized master.

In a series of women’s paintings, Borovikovsky is revealed as a catchy representative of sugary painting. In his chamber portraits, the standard of the lady of his time is embodied.

“Portrait of M. I. Lopukhina” is an order of her husband, jägermeister and real chamberlain at the court of S. A. Lopukhin.

This painting – the universally recognized masterpiece of Borovikovsky – represents the absolute embodiment of the aesthetic thoughts of sentimentalism. The image of Maria Lopukhina captivates with affectionate melancholy, unusual softness of facial features and inner harmony, which is felt in all the artistic and colorful elements of the picture: in the heroine’s pose, the turn of a pretty head, and facial expression. All the bands are harmonious and melodic, attract attention to details. The canvas also depicts flowers – roses plucked and already slightly drooping on the stem. What is it, a sketch of nature, or is there some meaning here? The symbolic meaning of the flowers was perfectly clear: the beauty of their bloom is mesmerizing, but very soon it fades. Such is the beauty of the lady.

But the artist in particular is attracted by aspects in the state of the model, its elusive beauty, the deepest sadness of the soul, which he conveys thanks to the almost inconspicuous elements of symbolism and the narrow coloristic solution of the portrait.

According to art connoisseurs, “Portrait of Maria Ivanovna Lopukhina” is one of the masterpieces of the creator. Specifically, it can be considered the beginning of a new step in portraiture – when the painter does not indicate the social position and significance of the hero of the picture, but his personal properties – mood, cherished 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 woman 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 very first glance.

The woman is depicted against a background of nature, blurred and seemingly in a haze through which Russian motifs are visible – birch trees, flowers, clouds. Maria in a snow-white, ordinary dress with a blue belt encircling her figure in the “Greek” fashion, fooling around in a careless manner.

A sweet, charming face is young, fresh and affectionate, she has a dreamy look directed specifically at you, and a light mysterious grin. According to the plan of the creator, the whole picture should create a sense of harmony and unity of nature and man.

The beauty of the girl is gracefully and directly connected with the beauty of the landscape. How the tilted birch harmonizes with the natural and smooth twist of the girl’s figure, how the cornflowers respond to the color of the belt, how the golden ears convey the twist of the hands, 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 affectionate politra of colors. Using muted silver, pale blue, pale green colors in the database, the creator achieves special lyricism and emotionality of the image.

According to the contemporaries of the artist and art historians of our time, the portrait of Lopukhina is the standard of a lady of a specifically Russian type, to whom, according to the canons of sentimentalism, Borovikovsky gave features of gentle 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 girl’s fate was cruel to her, Maria died at the age of 23 from consumption.

It is curious that after her death, rumors circulated around the town that this particular portrait had ruined a healthy and cheerful woman quite recently. It was whispered on the sidelines that it was unimportant which woman who looked at this portrait would die, since the spirit of the deceased embodied in him. Most likely, these rumors are associated with Pope Mary, he was a member of the Masonic lodge, was fond of mysticism and had a tremendous impact 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 begin to excite people. After the famous Russian businessman and collector Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov, he got a picture for the collection of his own gallery."