Description of the painting by Andrei Matveev "Portrait of I. A. Golitsyn"

Description of the painting by Andrei Matveev

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Andrey Matveev is one of the first Russian artists to be educated in the field of art in Western Europe, where he was sent as part of a group of other students at the initiative of Peter the Great. After 11 years of training in the Netherlands, Matveyev returned to Russia, where he was to become a famous court painter. A long absence led to the fact that he did not have any patrons in Russia or good friends. In the first year, immediately after his arrival, he almost was left without a livelihood, but the young artist was helped out by the order he received for painting portraits of the princes Golitsyn.

The ceremonial portrait of Prince Ivan Alekseevich was made by Matveyev completely in the traditions of contemporary Western European art, in compliance with the strict rules. The quiet and puny seventy-year-old prince in the picture is presented in the form of a slender knight in a magnificent pose, in darkened shiny armor. Golitsyn has a wig on his head, and his neck is covered with a white scarf. At the same time, the prince’s gaze and facial features show timidity and weakness of the soul. The same duality distinguishes the portrait of his wife, Anastasia Petrovna Golitsyna, a woman who is short-sighted and weak, but deeply unhappy in her life.

The writing of the portraits of the Golitsyn couple in 1728 was the beginning of the career of the painter, having served as the rise of their author to widespread fame. Modern scholars of fine art consider Matveev one of the greatest artists of the eighteenth century, mentioning him among the founders of Russian portraiture.

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