To creation of portrait images it is possible to track on all centuries-old way of development of history of russian artists. If the European fine arts have been opened in Renaissance domestic portrait art has begun develop in the all-European direction, owing to rough activity of tsar Peter I. Well-known, anyhow, Peter 1 has forced to move Russia aside europeanization as it has been popularly told; Has opened a window to the Europe.
The first artists of a Peter epoch were brothers Nikitin, F.Tcherkasov, M. Zaharov, They mastered new color receptions, composite innovations techniques of the old masters of oil painting. At this time portrait painting on prevalence, also has taken in the lead positions. Russian artists besides images of tsars, aspired to immortalize activity of Russian boyars, patriarches and merchants, the hobby for transfer unique poses of models was very characteristic the then.
Artists tried to enrich a portrait composition a household interior and attributes of the national suit surrounding spaces. Accenting subjects of dear conditions, rich furniture, vases, well and certainly clothes from magnificent fabrics where excellent transferred invoices of materials, carefully writing out the invoice of silk, brocade by means of the most thin shades.
In history of russian artists art 18 century, is connected with the general cultural process in Russia. Portraits the written 18 centuries artists Levitsky, Rokotov and Borovikovsky, speak about an originality of Russian portrait of that time. Art of a portrait of 18 centuries developed in various versions; a smart, intimate and chamber portrait. These directions reflected various aspects of riches of a material world and sincere customs, developing and improving complicating graphic language.
Art has entered a new step of the popularity, many artists earned glory in manufacturing smart portraits on a background of the nature and architecture which were created in the most complicated light to shadow processing, is thin combined colour of tones of a colourful layer with dynamics of the picturesque invoice. Greater sizes of such portraits, composite receptions, technics of execution in style of the West-European smart pictures of XVII century. In formation of Russian portrait painting by an obligatory condition was - not only finding of the similarity, competently constructed composition of a portrait but also - smart picturesqueness which was now so is necessary in even formed Russian secular interior.
In a number of the largest Russian portraitists of second half XVIII century the most original was F.Rokotov. It already the young man has received wide popularity as the skilful and original painter. Its creative heritage considerably. Roars in 1760 the pupil of the Academy of arts, and in three years - its teacher and then the academician. The service has distracted the artist from creativity, and official orders weighed. In 1765 of Roars has left the Academy of arts and has moved for ever to Moscow. New, creative very fruitful period of its life there has begun. It became the artist of prosacred nobility in independent,
and at times and freethinking Moscow. In its products the aspiration of the best part of Russian nobility to follow high moral norms was reflected characteristic the then. The artist liked to represent the person without the smart environment, not posing. People in late portraits of Rokotov become more attractive in the intellectuality and spirituality. Usually Roars uses soft illumination and all attention concentrates on persons. People in its portraits almost always slightly smile, quite often steadfastly, sometimes mysteriously look at the spectator. Them something unites the general, what that deep humanity and warm-heartedness.
On spirituality, picturesqueness, the general refinement many portraits of Rokotov have analogy in portrait painting the best English masters of XVIII century. When creativity of Rokotov blossomed, activity of other largest painter - Dmitry Levitsky who has created a series of truthful, deep portraits under the characteristic has begun. It was born, possibly, in Kiev and in the beginning studied in the fine arts at the father - the known Ukrainian engraver. In 1770 at an exhibition in the Academy of arts Levitsky has acted with a number of portraits, becoming at once the mature and large master. For one of them - architect A.Kokorinova - it has been awarded ranks of the academician.
The artist still leans on traditions of a baroque portrait. Soon Levitsky had been created the well-known series of portraits smolyanok - students Smolniy institute. Custom-made empresses Ekaterina II it has brought to it original glory. The artist has represented each of students this exclusive nobiliary educational institution behind hobby, in a characteristic pose.
Levitsky has perfectly transferred charm of a youth, happiness of a young life, different characters. Levitsky's intimate portraits of an epoch of blossoming of its creativity which is necessary on 1770-1780-е years, represent top of achievements of the artist. In Petersburg it has written French philosopher Deni Diderot who has visited Russian capital, deliberately having represented it in a house dressing gown and without a wig. Are executed grace, feminity in the portraits of M. of Lvov, the empty secular beauty represents Ursulla Mnishek, prudent behaviour it is inherent in the prima donna of the Italian comic opera to singer A.Bernutstsy.
Levitsky differently concerned to models of the portraits: to one - with heat and sympathy, for another - it is as though indifferent, the third condemned. As well as many Russian artists of that time, Levitsky received for the portraits much less, than visiting foreign painters. It has died in heavy need the very old man, till last days not leaving a brush.
Style of each of the well-known portraitists is deeply individual, but there is at them and much the general, that in a consequence has developed that classical style of Russian portrait, it allows to correlate the fine arts of that epoch with the next stage of development of Russian portrait painting. Historical images of that epoch are characterized by subordination of art style, Russian masters actively used various techniques of old masters and methods of Europeans, but at that, they also created the original school of portrait art, developing cleanly national concept of the Russian portrait, differing from the European style, deep psychology images, vitality and humanity, highly national idea - here these characteristics which, always distinguished Russian portraits.
© I. Kazarin, 2006