Oil on canvas
249 x 176
State Russian Museum
Karl Brullov appears to have painted this portrait in St Petersburg in 1839–40, when Countess Yulia Samoilova came to Russia for family reasons.
Countess Yulia Pavlovna Samoilova (1803–1875): Last of the Skawronski family. Daughter of cavalry general Count von Palen (1775–1834) and Countess M. P. Skawronska (eldest daughter of Countess E. V. Skawronska and niece of Prince Grigory Potemkin). Married the aide-de-camp Count Nikolai Samoilov (1825), the Italian singer Peri and then the French diplomat Count de Morné. After divorcing the latter, she returned to the surname of her first husband.
Karl Brullov made the acquaintance of Countess Yulia Samoilova in Italy in the 1820s. They became very close friends and at one point even talked of marrying. Countess Samoilova did not have any children of her own. She raised two Italian girls, Amazilia and Giovanina Pacini, daughters of the composer Giovanni Pacini.
Brullov (Bruleau), Karl Pavlovich
1799, St Petersburg -1852, Manziana (near Rome)
Painter, watercolourist, draughtsman, history painter, portraitist, genre painter, mural painter. Born into an artistic family. Studied under Anton Ivanov, Alexei Yegorov and Vasily Shebuyev at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1809-22), graduated with a first-class gold medal. Sent to Italy by the Society for the Encouragement of Arts (1822-35). Worked in Milan, Naples and Rome. Won fame in Europe as a portraitist and history painter for such works as The Last Day of Pompeii (1827-33, Russian Museum. St Petersburg)- Returned to Russia and lived in St Petersburg. Honorary freeman (1834), second-degree professor (1835) and first-degree professor (1846) of the Imperial Academy of Arts, where he taught history painting, enjoying the love and respect of his many students. Professor of the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence. Contributed to exhibitions in Rome, Milan, Paris and St Petersburg. Went abroad on the advice of doctors (1849), settled in Italy (1850).