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Orest Kiprensky – master of portrait

Orest Kiprensky. Self-portrait

Orest Kiprensky. Self-portrait


The Russian artist Orest Kiprensky, whose pictures excited the Russian public throughout the first half of the 19th century, was born on March 24, 1782. The boy was born in the estate of the poor nobleman A. Dyakonov. His mother was serf Anna Gavrilova. A year after the birth of the future artist, Dyakonov gave him the name Orest, but did not recognize him as a son. Anyway, he fully supported the boy, gave him freedom and took care of his future. According to the documents Orest became a member of serf Adam Schwalbe’s family.
At the age of six, Orest was sent to study at the Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg. He studied at the Academy until 1803 and continued to study painting under the leadership of the famous Russian artist G. Ugryumov.
The next few years Orest lived in the barracks, was humiliated. But strangely enough, an unhappy fate became an incentive for further creative development. The artist always took an album with drawings with him.

You know, Kiprensky, whose paintings were already discussed in Moscow, decided to demonstrate the pictures Madonna and Child and Portrait of his father Adam Schwalbe. A little later the artist received a large gold medal for the picture Grand Duke Dmitry Donskoy after the Kulikov Battle. After that, Orest, whose paintings were recognized and appreciated, began to participate in the design of the Kazan Cathedral of the architect Voronikhin.
Portraits, painted by Orest Adamovich, were full of the novelty and accuracy of the image. One of the most significant works is a portrait of Alexander Pushkin. The picture of Kiprensky, dedicated to the Sun of Russian poetry, was painted in 1827. Before the creation of this masterpiece, Orest managed to paint 59 more portraits, two of which depict Colonel E.V. Davydov and Count D.N. Sheremetev. By the way, Kiprensky became an outstanding artist of his time. For several portraits, painted in 1811-1813, the painter received the title of academician.
However, he painted portraits mainly for earnings, and was fond of historical painting. He constantly created monumental pictures, depicting the great events from the past of the Russian people.

What is more, he became the first Russian painter who received an order to create a self-portrait for the Uffizi Gallery, famous for the collection of images of the best artists of the world.
At that time, Orest was in a Russian colony in Rome, where someone spread the rumor about Kiprensky’s criminal intentions. As a result of the lies and false accusations, Orest was forced to leave Italy. Having returned home, Kiprensky did not stay long in St. Petersburg and soon left for Paris. There his works were a big success at the spring exhibition of 1822.

In July 1836 Kiprensky married Maria Falcucci, who was his former pupil and inspiration. She brightened up the last years of his life.
In October 1836 the artist died of pneumonia and was buried in Rome. Four months later, the daughter of Kiprensky was born.
A few friends of the artist made a modest monument on his grave. Not a single newspaper reported on the death of the painter, thanks to whom Europe learned that in Russia there was a great art and great artists.

Orest Kiprensky – master of portrait