Oil on canvas
183 х 142,5
State Russian Museum
In the seventies of the XVIII century Catherine II commissioned Levitsky to paint a series of "Smolyanki" that consisted of seven portraits of the pupils of the Smolny Institute for Noble Maidens – privileged educational establishment, opened in St. Petersburg in 1764 by decree of the Empress. Daughters of the nobles were preparing there for the Royal Court service and secular life. Talents that were "pleasant in society" were developed in girls. They were taught French and German languages, the elegant manners, as well as singing, dancing, playing musical instruments. The performances were often held in the Smolny Institute. Smolyanki acted out French comedies and also performed in ballet.
Alymova Glafira Ivanovna (1758–1826) the daughter of Colonel I.A. Alymov. From 1764 to 1776 she was a student of the Smolny Institute, from which she graduated with the gold medal of the first grade and the insignia (cipher) of Catherine II designed as a brooch in the shape of the Empress initial. After the graduation she was taken to Royal Court. She was the maid of honor of Catherine II (1776), later State-lady lady-in-waiting. Her first husband was A.A. Rzhevskij, writer, mason, vice-director of the Academy of Sciences. The second husband was I.P. Mascle, the teacher of French language and translator of fables of I.A. Krylov. Later he was the Russian consul in Nice. Alymova Glafira Ivanovna was awarded the Order of Saint Catherine. She died in Moscow.
Alymova Glafira Ivanovna is depicted in the a white silk dress that was obligatory for the older pupils (fourth grade) of the Educational Society for Noble Maidens.
Levitsky, Dmitry Grigoryevich
1735, Kiev - 1822, St Petersburg
Leading Russian eighteenth-century painter and portraitist. Son of Grigory Levitsky Nos, a priest and Ukrainian engraver. Moved to St Petersburg (c. 1758). Studied under Alexei Antropov. Worked in Moscow (17605). Nominated to the Academy (c. 1769). Academician (1770). Headed the portraiture class at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1771-87). Councillor (1776), member of the Academy council (1780). Retired for unknown reasons (1787). Worked as a free painter. Returned to the Academy council (1807).