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Portrait of Ekaterina Arsenieva, Pupil at the Smolny Finishing School. Mid-1790s

Borovikovsky Vladimir,
Oil on canvas
71,5 x 56

State Russian Museum


Portrait painting is unique due to its high painting features: a clear plasticity of form, refined picturesqueness, well developed air atmosphere. The daughter of military general is depicted in a white dress with a pearl bracelet and with an apple in her hand. Researchers gave funny and flirty Ekaterina Arsenyeva a nickname "Russian Venus with a snub nose." Portrait is a part of a series of "sentimental" female portraits of the 1790s.

Ekaterina Nikolaevna Arsenieva (1778–?): Eldest daughter of Major General Nikolai Arseniev (chief of staff of Count Alexander Suvorov) and V. I. Ushakova. Studied at the Smolny Institute. Ladyin-waiting to Empress Marie Fyodorovna (1796). Married full state councillor P. F. Kozlov (1800).

Author's Biography

Borovikovsky Vladimir

Borovikovsky, Vladimir Lukich
1757, Mirgorod - 1825, St Petersburg
Painter, draughtsman, miniaturist, icon painter, portraitist. Born into a family of low rank Cossacks. Studied painting under his father, the icon painter Luke Borovik, in Mirgorod. Listed "above the specified number" in the Mirgorod regiment where his father and relatives served (1774). Awarded the rank of "comrade of the colours" (1783), resigned with the rank of lieutenant. Moved to St Petersburg (1788) and studied under Dmitry Levitsky and Johann Baptiste I Lampi. Nominated to the Imperial Academy of Arts (1794), academician of portrait painting (1795). Councillor of the Imperial Academy of Arts (1802). Contributed to the iconostasis of the Kazan Cathedralin St Petersburg (1804). Mason and member of Ekaterina Tatarinova''s mystical sect.

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