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Self-Portrait. Late 1810s — early 1820s

Orlovsky Alexander,
Oil on canvas
143 х 107,5

State Russian Museum


Orlovsky''s self-portrait is a programme work in the Romantic line. An academician of painting, he portrays himself in the full dress of a Caucasian warrior (most probably a Circassian), which he had never been in real life. The costume is also in keeping with the heroic expression on the artist s face and the tense pose and abrupt turn of the head. The theme of the Orient, typical of European Romanticism, was in Russia often associated with the Caucasus (Caucasian themes later attracted Mikhail Lermontov and other writers of the Romantic mould).

Author's Biography

Orlovsky Alexander

Orlovsky, Alexander Osipovich
1777, Warsaw å 1832, St Petersburg
Draughtsman, lithographer, painter, genre artist, portraitist, landscapist, battle-painter, animalist. Studied in Jean Pierre Norblin de la Gourdaine s studio in Warsaw. Lived in St Petersburg (from 1802) where he was in the staff of Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich. Academician for Cossack Bivouac (1809). Created Horsemen (1816), the first dated lithograph in Russia. At the end of the 1810s through the 1820s, he created several series of
lithographs of scenes from Russian folk life that were very successful. A rare example of the artist s work in book graphic art is his illustrations to the fables of Ivan Krylov (1824). Intended for publica¬tion in 1825, they were printed by the Circle of Lovers of Fine Publications only in 1907.

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