Paintings

Description of the painting by Dmitry Levitsky “Portrait of Ursula Mnishek”


Date of writing - 1782. The canvas is in the collection of the State Tretyakov Gallery.

An outstanding master of portraiture painted a portrait of a secular beauty, being at the pinnacle of excellence, during the years of his highest glory.

From the canvas, the niece of the Polish king Stanislav, maid of honor, looks at the viewer, then the stats lady of Catherine II, a real socialite, Ursula Mnishek. Contemporaries noted her sharp mind, education, well-read, ability to skillfully conduct a conversation, excellent literary and artistic abilities.

The portrait was made in an oval, which is not typical of Levitsky's painting in this genre. The painter’s amazing skill is striking: the picture looks like an amazing cameo - brush strokes are so masterfully “hidden” here.

Shining satin, starched stiff lace, thickly powdered high wig, bright blush - every detail delights with its natural performance, bringing the picture closer to the quality in quality.

In the image of human flesh, the artist achieves unimaginable perfection - using special artistic techniques, he achieves a perfectly even, matte skin tone of the aristocrat, a delightfully even transition from light to dark areas.

Ursula Mnishek looks from the portrait coldly-polite, a little arrogant. A secular lady smiles a little noticeably, but her facial expressions are more likely a tribute to simple courtesy than genuine affability. Bright eyes are cold, the look is straight, but perfectly clear, without the slightest hint of mystery or hidden emotions. Probably, aristocratic upbringing and a long stay at the court taught the woman to skillfully hide genuine feelings and moods.

A peculiar mystery of the portrait can be considered its strange attractiveness: carefully examining the image, the viewer begins to gradually become imbued with sympathy for the secular lady, forgiving her secrecy and strictly dosed politeness.





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