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Vigilius Eriksen (1722-1782)

Scandinavian portrait painters working in Russia, the most popular was the Dane Vigilius Eriksen (1722-1782).

 Eriksen was born in Copenhagen, where he studied with the Navier-Stokes Valya. Until 1750 he worked at home. Fifteen years, from 1757 to 1772, the artist lived and worked in St. Petersburg. He arrived at the court of Elizabeth, whose portrait of his work is preserved in the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo. With accession to the throne of Catherine II Eriksen was appointed court painter and made a quick prosperity. His reputation in the imperial court was extremely high.

 Jakob Staehelin testified in his notes: "From the beginning of the reign of Her Majesty Empress Catherine II Eriksen kept as first court painter. He was never on the payroll, and forced to pay for each picture separately and in abundance. His annual salary only when the yard was estimated at 5,000 rubles. In 1766 he wrote almost nothing but ladies and gentlemen in their ceremonial garb. In the spring of 1769 - the most likely and the most beautiful pastel portrait of the Empress. The most similar and the most complete portraits of Her Majesty left the easel Ericksen ... He also wrote a lot of portraits of individuals, all equally good, excellent flavor and a soft brush "(Notes Jakob Staehelin the fine arts in Russia / Comp., Translated from the German lang., Will enter. Art. K. Malinowski. T. 1. - M., 1990. pp. 83, 85.).

Master ceremonial representative portrait, Eriksen - a typical court painter. Permanent artist's model - Catherine II, he wrote no less than 30 portraits of the Empress in different painting techniques, composition, format, costumes and poses. August ordered it quite liked searchingly portraits foreign maestro who knew how to elegantly and subtly flattering. On his court artist Catherine II wrote laudatory letter to Baron Melchior Grimm.

In one of the earliest portraits of the Empress Eriksen captured her on a horse (Portrait of Catherine II on horseback. After 1762. GE). The product was found so successful that it was repeated several times by the artist himself as a big and small ways.

Greater success was also the share of the "Portrait of Catherine II before the mirror" (between 1762 and 1764. ETs) and "Portrait of Catherine II in mourning" (1762. THG). At Peterhof Palace survived portrait of Catherine II in front secretaire (between 1762 and 1764. Museum "Peterhof"). Known and chamber images empress in profile (until 1762. GE), as well as designed in the "Russian" style "Portrait of Catherine II in Shuga and headdress" (1769-1772. Hermitage).

Occupies an important place in the work of Eriksen portraits of Crown Prince Paul Petrovich (Portrait of Grand Duke Paul Petrovich in the training room. Around 1766. GE). Danish portraitist and also depict the fashionable person close Catherine II. He portrayed the king's favorite, Grigory Orlov (circa 1765. THG), Count Panin, Chief Marshal Count Sievers, vice-chancellor of Prince Golitsyn (1764. THG) and others. Paintings of his brush were considered highly prestigious and eagerly bought for huge money.

Since 1766 the artist has worked with images of costumed participants court competition, the so-called carousel. He created two huge portraits - Grigory Orlov as a "Roman soldier" and Alexei Orlov in "costume Saracen" (1766-1772. Hermitage). Among the works Eriksen is unusual, poluetnografichesky "Portrait of a century peasant family Tsarskoye Selo" (1771. Museum).

Creative artist noted weave features baroque, rococo and classicism. Portraits Ericksen state of its size and the nature of the composition. They masterovity, refined and elegant. Erichsen skillfully worked in rare for Russian artists pastels. It made the said J. Stehlin image of Catherine II and bust version of the "Hundred Years' Tsarskoye Selo peasant family" (1768, TG).

High-painting technique inherent artist, had a direct influence, according to most researchers, at FS Rokotoff St. Petersburg in the early period of his work. Young Roars got from the Danish master of light and transparency lessirovochnomu stroke.

In 1772, Eriksen Ukhalov home, taken away a large number of his works. Some of them later Catherine II bought it. In Denmark, Eriksen became court painter to Queen Juliana. He died in Copenhagen in 1782.

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