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Portrait of Alexander Lanskoi. 1782

Levitsky Dmitry,
Oil on сanvas
151 x 117

State Russian Museum


Dmitry Levitsky painted this portrait in 1782 for Catherine the Great, who had fallen in love with the twenty-two year-old officer. Alexander Lanskoi was the son of a modest army captain whom the empress showered with attention and honours. Levitsky depicts Lanskoi in the uniform of an adjutant general. Catherine was allegedly so pleased with the portrait that she did not part with it for the rest of her life.
Alexander Dmitriyevich Lanskoi (1758–1784): Son of an impoverished member of the Smolensk nobility. Soldier (1772) and cavalryman (1776) of the Izmailovsky Life Guards Regiment. Adjutant to Prince Grigory Potemkin. Favourite of Catherine the Great (1779).
Aide-de-camp (1770), chamberlain (1780), major general, chief of the Smolensk Dragoons Regiment. Awarded many orders. Adjutant general, lieutenant general (1784). Collector of art. Alexander Lanskoi is depicted in the uniform of a major general of the engineers regiment. He wears the Cross of St Stanislaus and the Cordon of the White Eagle.

Author's Biography

Levitsky Dmitry

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).

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