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Portrait of Grand Duchess Maria Nikolayevna and Grand Duchess Olga Nikolayevna. 1838

Neff Timofei,
Oil on canvas
133 х 103

State Russian Museum

Пост.: до 1930 из бывшего Смольного института (Ленинград); ранее – Зимний дворец (личная коллекция императрицы Александры Федоровны)


Timoleon Carl von Neff was one of Nicholas I’s favourite artists. He not only painted portraits of members of the imperial family, but he also taught them drawing. This artist, without greatly sinning against nature, was able to flatter his models, emphasising the beauty and elegant nobility in their appearance. Neff’s portraits of children and women were his best, and he painted them with spontaneity and charm. Among his favourite works were a double portrait of Nicholas’s daughters Maria and Olga (1822–1892), who in the future would become the wife of Charles I of Württemberg.

Author's Biography

Neff Timofei

Neff, Timofei Andreyevich (Timoleon Carl von)
1805, Püssi Estate (Ostland Province) – 1876, St Petersburg
Painter, history painter, portraitist, monumentalist, iconpainter. Studied under Friedrich Hartmann Barisien at the Dresden Academy of Arts. Completed a course of study at the Imperial Academy of Arts and awarded a fellowship to Italy (1825). Returned to St Petersburg (1827). Awarded the title of court artist and nominated to the Imperial Academy of Arts (1832). Granted a lifetime pension for painting icons for a church in Alexandria Park in Peterhof. Visited Italy (1835–1837, 1842, 1857–1858), travelled across Russia to learn folk types and everyday life (1837). Academician (1839) for his paintings for the Little Chapel in the Winter Palace. Decorated St Isaac’s Cathedral (1842–1847). Professor for the iconostasis in St Isaac’s Cathedral (1849). Taught at the Imperial Academy of Arts (from 1855). Curator of the Imperial Hermitage Picture Gallery (from 1864). Contributed to decoration of many churches, till the end of his life created studies for the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow.

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