Portrait of Catherine II, Dmitry Grigoryevich Levitsky – overview

Portrait of Catherine II, Dmitry Grigoryevich Levitsky – overview
Portrait of Catherine II, Dmitry Grigoryevich Levitsky - overview - 1

  • Author: Levitsky Dmitry Grigoryevich
  • Museum: Tretyakov Gallery
  • Year: 1782

Overview of the painting :

Portrait of Catherine II – Dmitry Grigoryevich Levitsky.

   Dmitry Grigoryevich Levitsky, a native of the simple family of a Ukrainian priest, was “creator in the faces” of the era of the second half of the 18th century thanks to genius, talent, and a rare artistic gift.

   Looking at the portraits of Levitsky wealthy merchants, famous architects, thoughtful philosophers, arrogant aristocrats, famous writers, beautiful beauties, brave military, lovely children, great emperors and empresses – you understand that they are not only characters, faces and biographies, but history and personification of that great era, not accidentally named after Catherine.

   During its reign, the legislative system is being improved, the country’s economic power is growing, the Russian Academy of Sciences is being founded, educational activities are being strengthened, the army is being strengthened, the Black Sea Fleet is being created, and many other issues that Catherine II is actively delving into are undergoing reforms.

   In 1782, in the year of the celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the Empress’s accession to the throne, Levitsky created the “Portrait of Catherine II”. Also, the reason for writing this portrait was the establishment of the star and the order of St. Vladimir. Regalia are awarded for military merit and civic achievements. The first order was laid by the empress in September 1782.

   The artist uses the so-called “worship” type of portrait common in the 18th century. Catherine in a solemn red outfit against the background of classical draperies and columns, a tape is thrown over her shoulder, a Vladimir star on her chest. Hair is laid in a simple hairstyle, modest jewelry.

   The author seeks to emphasize the importance of the ruler as a statesman and military leader, her wisdom and enlightenment, as evidenced by the pen, inkwell and scrolls on the table. But thanks to a soft and kind look, a light half smile on his face, a portrait of Catherine does not look pathetic or too solemn.

   We, the modern descendants of those people, see an ordinary living woman, whose will be destined to become a autocrat of a huge country. And she was able to judiciously, competently, adequately show herself.