Russian Art

Levitsky, D. G. Catherine II. 1783

Catherine II as Legistatress in the Goddess of Justice Temple Catherine II (the Great) apparently never had time to sit for Levitsky. Thus his depictions of the Empress, which were imagined or based on another artist's work, seem to lack the subtle qualities of his other portraits. When one considers the success of his seven portraits of girls attending the Smolny Institute (see ImageBase), it is regrettable that the Empress did not pose for the painter. Nevertheless, Levitsky was able to communicate both the pride and presumption of this Russian ruler of German birth. Catherine's foreign upbringing and associated sympathies inclined her to favor French manners and customs over Russian ways. And though she actively pursued and acquired over 4000 works of art, her affection for art had its limitations. She was often less interested in the works themselves than in the prestige these treasures conferred on her. (00275)
Copyright ©. George Mitrevski. Auburn University.