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The Annunciation - a painting by Vladimir Borovikovsky, presumably painted in 1810-1820, represents one of two types typical of his work - religious motifs and secular portraits. The painting is in the Russian Museum of St. Petersburg.
Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky was a Russian artist, who was considered the main portrait painter of Russia at the turn of the 18-19 centuries. He was born in Mirgorod in 1757. His father, Luke, was a Cossack and a great lover of icon painting. According to family tradition, all four Borovik sons served in the Mirgorod regiment, but Vladimir quit at an early age and devoted his life to art, mainly engaged in icon painting for local churches.
Borovikovsky would probably have lived the rest of his life as an amateur artist in a provincial town, if not for an unexpected incident. His friend Vasily Kapnist was preparing housing for Empress Catherine II in Kremenchug during her trip to the recently conquered Crimea. Kapnist asked Borovikovsky to draw two allegorical paintings (Peter I and Catherine II, like peasants sowing seeds) for their rooms. The Empress liked the paintings so much that she asked the artist to move to St. Petersburg.
Since 1795, he became a popular portrait painter and created more than 500 portraits in his entire life, 400 of which have survived to our time. He had his own studio, and he often used the services of assistants who painted less important parts of the portrait. Among the posers were members of the imperial family, courtiers, generals, many aristocrats and figures from the Russian art and literary world. Most of his portraits are intimate in style.
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