Portrait of Elena Alexandrovna Naryshkina, Borovikovsky – overview

Portrait of Elena Alexandrovna Naryshkina, Borovikovsky – overview
Portrait of Elena Alexandrovna Naryshkina, Borovikovsky - overview - 1

  • Posted by: Borovikovsky Vladimir Lukich
  • Museum: Tretyakov Gallery
  • Year: 1799

Overview of the painting :

Portrait of Elena Alexandrovna Naryshkina – Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky. Oil on canvas. 72.8×59.6 cm

Russian painter Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky is famous for his many portraits, ceremonial and chamber, depicting military and statesmen, high-ranking courtiers and, of course, emperors and empresses themselves.

But in women’s portraits we are still impressed by the mastery of the author, his ability to show the subtlety and sensitivity of female nature. One of these masterpieces is the “Portrait of Elena Alexandrovna Naryshkina”, written by the artist in 1799.

The least 14 years old, but the extraordinary, amazing beauty of the girl stops her eyes and suggests a beautiful woman in the future.

She is dressed simply, but gracefully – a white dress of heavenly color, a light cloak, a string of pearls intercepted sleeves, curly hair curls scattered over her shoulders. Without a forced plumage on the pedestal, she looks directly at the viewer with her languid, amazing and mysterious look. Beautiful, gentle roses near the girl symbolize youth and purity.

And, of course, the landscape against the backdrop of a model. Borovikovsky uses the nature in portraits to convey the general mood of the picture – poetic, a little sad, chamber.

Who is this young beauty?

Elena Naryshkina at the age of 15 became a maid of honor at court, then she was married to son A. AT. Suvorova – Arkady Alexandrovich Suvorov. The families of Naryshkin and Suvorov have long been friends, and therefore the dream of marrying children was mutual.

The marriage was not very happy, but lasted 11 years, and when Arkady Suvorov died in 1811, Elena Alexandrovna leaves for Europe with four children.

The princess is only 25 years old, she is beautiful, charming, educated, she has a wonderful timbre of voice and musical data. At yards in Europe, she pays attention to her beauty, vividness of her mind, courtesy.

This fact is known from her life: the Italian composer Joakkino Rossini included the cantata, which he had previously written in honor of the name day Elena Naryshkina, in the second act of the opera Seville Barber. And Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin devoted to her the poem “It is a matter of remembrance about her …”.

She has many fans, but she is engaged in children and only after 12 years of widowhood she marries a second time, for Prince Vasily Andreevich Golitsyn.

The rest of their lives they lived in Odessa, where in 1855 she was buried. According to her contemporaries, Elena Alexandrovna until the last days maintained a clear consciousness, charm, was a pleasant and desirable interlocutor.

And today, peering into the portrait, you feel the trepidation and inspiration of Borovikovsky, who wrote this young purity and freshness of the girl’s divine beauty.