Orest Adamovich Kiprensky is a brilliant Russian portrait painter, painter and graphic artist, a man of complex and interesting fate. Like Leonardo da Vinci, he was born out of wedlock, but unlike the Renaissance titan, he had to be enslaved in his youth - since he was an illegitimate child of a landowner, according to official information he was a serf and was considered the son of Adam Shvalba, a serf whom he married on his mother after the birth of a child from the landowner Dkonov. The future famous master of portraiture was born on the territory of the present Leningrad Region, in the village of Nizhnovo, in March 1782.
At the age of only six years, the future artist Kiprensky was freed and got rid of the stigma of the serf, which would never allow him to rise above the farmyard. We must pay tribute to his father - the child was engaged, he was provided with the future, which not all fathers of illegitimate children did. He even received a fashionable name at that time and a lyrical surname. Presumably, it was formed on behalf of Aphrodite of Cyprus - Cyprus.
The boy was sent to study at the Educational School at the Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg. Then a talented young man entered the Academy itself. In total, he successfully studied for 15 years, graduating from the Academy with a gold medal. This gave the medalist the right to travel abroad, but the artist was able to use it much later due to military operations.
The artist lived and worked for several years in Moscow, Tver and St. Petersburg, until in 1828 he settled in Italy. Here he was waiting for another sharp turn and the true love of his life. He married an Italian, and even the need to change his religion and become a Catholic did not stop him from taking a decisive step.
The future and profile of the artist's work led him to study at the Academy of Arts in the class of historical painting with the famous portrait painter Ugryumov. Although it can be argued that the makings of the ingenious master of chamber and ceremonial portrait were in his childhood. At the age of only 12 years old, he painted a portrait of his adoptive father Schwalbe in such a masterly technique that the picture was taken for the work of Rembrandt himself.
But in the "adult" works of the artist there is a clear departure from the image "in imitation of Rembrandt." His mature works are more airy, often using bright and delicate colors, they have more realism and spirituality than tragedy. One of the most famous works of Kiprensky was the portrait of the hussar Denis Davydov, the hero of the Patriotic War of 1812. For him, the master deservedly received the honorary title of academician.
This portrait impresses with its correct composition and the expressive, lively face of the legendary guerrilla-hussar, his laid-back, natural pose. Two pure, “open” colors were used in the canvas - scarlet for caftan and white for leggings. Their juiciness is diluted with soft blurry background colors and many small details that organically merge into the general canvas of the image.
The portrait has many small details that can be considered endlessly. This is gold embroidery of a doloman, neat fur edging, silk tassels and weaving on the belt and saber of a war hero, an elegant drawing of his dandy boots, feathers on a hat that lies at his feet.
For his very short life, the artist created a vivid gallery of expressive and memorable portraits, including the portrait of the great poet A.S. Pushkin. The artist died in his beloved Italy, without experiencing severe pneumonia, in 1836. The monument on his grave was erected by grateful Russian artists who lived in this country.