Portrait of Nadezhda Polovtseva

Portrait of Nadezhda Polovtseva
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Author: Carolus-Duran
Portraiture, Painting, Oil on canvas, 206x124.5 cm
Origin: France, 1876

Carolus-Duran was one of the most popular French society portrait painters at the end of the 19th century; his works were regularly shown at the Paris Salon exhibitions, he was awarded many medals and in 1904 he became a member of the Legion d'Honneur. Yet his consistent success with the public was not so much the result of painting talent as an ability to flatter his sitters, combining a good likeness of the sitter with a large dose of idealisation. This portrait of Nadezhda Polovtseva is typical of his work, an eclectic combination of realistic trends and the achievements of Impression with the traditional devices of the academic school. Polovtseva is shown in a luxurious interior, the dynamic contrast of her three-quarter pose, the frontal depiction of her face and hands, the upright, aristocratic bearing and deliberately impressive drapery folds of her dress give the portrait an imposing elegance.

Nadezhda Polovtseva was the adopted daughter of Baron Stieglitz, founder of the Stieglitz Museum and Central School of Industrial Arts in St Petersburg. She married Alexander Polovstev, Russian Secretary of State and a passionate art collector, who did much to enhance the collections of the Stieglitz Museum, while she herself became director of the School. She was painted by Carolus-Duran during his visit to St Petersburg in 1876.

Source of entry: First Branch of the State Hermitage Museum, 1926
Theme: History
Exibition: French Art: 19th - 20th centuries

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