Portrait of Catherine II - Dmitry Grigoryevich Levitsky.
Dmitry Grigorievich Levitsky, who came from a simple family of a Ukrainian priest, turned out to be a “creator in the faces” of the second half of the 18th century thanks to his genius, talent, and rare artistic gift.
Looking at portraits of Levitsky of rich merchants, famous architects, profound philosophers, arrogant aristocrats, famous writers, beautiful beauties, brave military, lovely children, majestic emperors and empresses - you understand that they are not only characters, faces and biographies, but history and personification of that great era, not accidentally called Catherine.
During her reign, the legislative system is being improved, the country's economic power is growing, the Russian Academy of Sciences is being established, enlightening 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 and carrying out reforms.
In 1782, in the year of the celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the empress's accession to the throne, Levitsky creates a "Portrait of Catherine II." Also the reason for writing this portrait was the establishment of the star and the Order of St. Vladimir. Regalia is awarded for military merits and civil achievements. The first order was entrusted to herself by the empress in September 1782.
The artist uses the so-called “generational” type of portrait, widespread in the 18th century. Catherine in a festive red dress against a background of classical draperies and columns, a ribbon is thrown over her shoulder, a Vladimir star is 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 the soft and kind look, the light half-smile on her face, the portrait of Catherine does not look pathetic or too solemn.
We, the modern descendants of those people, see an ordinary living woman, by the will of fate who is destined to become the autocrat of a huge country. And she was able to reasonably, competently, with dignity to show herself.