Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky was a prominent Russian portraitist. His art may be regarded as the last phase in the XVIII century traditions of Russian portraiture. He was born in a small Ukrainian town, Mirgorod, into the family of Ukrainian Cossacks. His father, Luka Borovik, and his two brothers were icon-painters. Borovikovsky also started as an icon-painter for local churches. In 1787 he drew two pictures for the house in which Empress Catherine II the Great was staying during her visit to Ukraine. His work was noted and he was sent to St. Petersburg to become one of the court painters.
Borovikovsky was too old to enter the Academy of Arts and he became a pupil of the Austrian painter I.-B. Lampi, who was working at the Russian court at the time. Also he was supported and greatly advised by Russian artist Dmitry Levitzky. In 1795 he was appointed an Academician. He became a very popular portrait-painter and created about 500 portraits during his lifetime. The most notable are Portrait of Catherine II, Empress of Russia (1794), Portrait of E. N. Arsenyeva (1796), Portrait of M. I. Lopukhina (1797), Portrait of F. A. Borovsky (1799), Portrait of Paul I, Emperor of Russia (1800), Portrait of Prince A. B. Kurakin (1801-1802), Portrait of Princess A. G. Gagarina and Princess V. G. Gagarina (1802).
Murtaza-Kuli-Khan (d. 1800) brother of the Shah of Persia Aga-Magomet, was banished from his country by his brother and lived in Russia in 1795-1800.
See: Vladimir Borovikovsky. Portrait of Murtaza-Kuli-Khan.
Ekaterina Nikolayevna Davydova (1757-1825) mother of Nicholas Rayevsky Sr., hero of the Napoleonic Wars, and grand-mother of Nicholas Rayevsky Jr.
See: Vladimir Borovikovsky. Portrait of E. N. Davydova.
Paul I, Emperor of Russia (1754-1801), son of Catherine II and Peter III, he succeeded his mother in 1796. His father's murder and his mother's neglect had exerted a baneful influence on his character. After ascension he soon revealed his violent temper and lack of capacity and irritated his subjects by vexatious regulations. He was murdered, as a result of a conspiracy, by his own officers.
See: Vladimir Borovikovsky. Portrait of Paul I, Emperor of Russia. Portrait of Paul I, Emperor of Russia.
Fedor Rokotov. Portrait of Emperor Paul I as a Child.
Dmitry Prokofyevich Troschinsky (1754-1829) Russian statesman, was of low origin, but being a person of great abilities, he carried high offices during the reigns of three Russian Emperors.
See: Vladimir Borovikovsky. Portrait of D. P. Troschinsky.
F. A. Borovsky, Russian soldier, was in military service in the 1760s-1790s and took part in all the campaigns, which were done during this period, serving under Suvorov and Rumyantzev.
See: Vladimir Borovikovsky. Portrait of F. A. Borovsky.
Count Peter Alexandrovich Tolstoy (1769-1844), Russian soldier and statesman, was in active military service since early youth, he took part in several campaigns, was praised by Suvorov for his bravery in 1794. He also went on several diplomatic missions, being a Russian Ambassador at the Napoleonic court in 1807-1808. He fought Napoleon during the war with France in 1812-1814. Later Tolstoy took part in the Turkish war in 1829 and other campaigns.
See: Vladimir Borovikovsky. Portrait of Count P. A. Tolstoy.
Anne Louise Germaine Necker, Madame de Stael (1766-1817), French writer, was the only child of the financier and statesman Jacques Necker. She married Baron of Stael-Holstein in 1786, the Swedish Ambassador in Paris. The marriage was unhappy, although they had a son and two daughters. She had many love affairs, her brilliant salon became the center of political discussions, but with the Revolution and her father's fall she felt compelled to leave Paris. She returned to Paris in 1795, 1797 and 1802. In 1803 she was ordered by Napoleon to keep 40 leagues away from Paris and she left France for 10 years of exile. She lived in Germany, in England and in Russia. In 1814, she returned on invitation of Louis XVIII. Her main works are Literature et ses rapports avec les institutions sociales (1800), Delphine (1802), Corinne (1807), De l' Allemagne (1810). After her death, her son and daughters published her unfinished Considerations sur la Revolution francaise (1818) and Dix Annees d'exil (1821).
See: Vladimir Borovikovsky. Portrait of M-me de Stael.
Sofia Alekseevna Rayevskaya (1769-1844) was a grand-daughter of the great Russian scientist Mikhail Lomonosov, a wife of the Napoleon Wars hero Nicholas Rayevsky Sr. and mother of Nicholas Rayevsky Jr.
See: Vladimir Borovikovsky. Portrait of S. A. Rayevskaya.
Karadjordge (Djorje Petrovic or, "Black George") (1752-1817), the leader of Serbs, founder of the ruling dynasty of Serbia and Yugoslavia. He was a pig-dealer, who became the leader of the first Serb Rebellion against Turkish overlords (1804-1813), since 1808 - a supreme leader of Serbia. After the defeat of the rebellion, he was in exile in Austria and Russia. In 1817, after his secret return, he was killed in Serbia.
See: Vladimir Borovikovsky. Portrait of Karadjordge.
Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky. By K. Mikhailova. Leningrad. 1968. (in Russian)
Vladimir Borovikovsky and Russian Culture. Late 18th – early 19th centuries. by T. Alexeeva. Moscow. Iskusstvo. 1975. (in Russian)