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George Dawe (1781-1829)

English painter George Dawe (1781-1829) was known in Europe as a fashionable portrait painter, master of engravings he also created the historical, mythological and genre paintings in the spirit of sentimental romanticism. Dow painted portraits of British generals who had distinguished themselves in the Battle of Waterloo. In 1818, he attended the Congress of the heads of State of the Holy Alliance in Aachen, where he was introduced to Alexander I. Russian emperor invited him to Russia to work on portraits for the Military Gallery of the Winter Palace.

 Arriving in St. Petersburg in the spring of 1819, George Dawe stayed in the capital for 10 years. During this time, by the artist himself or together with his Russian pupils VA Golicke (died in 1848) and A. Polyakov (1801-1835) for the Gallery 333 portraits. The autumn of 1820 at the Academy of Fine Arts was a small exhibition of works by George Dawe, after which he was elected an honorary member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts. The exhibition brought master a huge success. Since then, many members of the royal family, courtiers and ministers, born noblemen and officers of the Guards began to order Dow their portraits. The artist managed to paint all of them.

It is interesting that none of his contemporaries did not leave the description of his appearance and manners. He never visited, almost no one spoke. In St. Petersburg, the Dow tirelessly worked long hours at his easel either in the palace studio, in the homes of wealthy private clients.

The first years of the artist working alone, then he created a workshop. First came from England engravers - Doe-in-law, Thomas Wright and his younger brother Henry Dow, who sang of engravings after George Dawe. The demand for these prints was very large: They were bought by the image to give loved ones, their families, colleagues, and the institutions they headed, educational institutions, where they studied.

In 1822 in the workshop of Dawe's two assistants - Alexander Polyakov and Vasily (Wilhelm) Golicke. Despite the fact that all the portraits were entered in the catalog of the Hermitage as works by George Dawe, stylistic differences between them are obvious. There is no doubt that some of them are not written by the Dow, and some of his assistants. In 1828, Dow was awarded the title of the first portrait painter of the Russian Imperial Court and soon left Petersburg. By this time the master was a member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts in London and was elected in Vienna, Florence, Paris, Munich, Dresden and Stockholm Academy.

In February 1829 the Dow has returned to St. Petersburg to paint a portrait of Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich (full length) and complete several portraits for the gallery. Sharply deteriorating health forced him to leave for London, where he died in October 1829

After the death of his son, Thomas Doe Wright, who came to Russia for the inheritance of the artist, launched the Dow finished three portraits of generals, as well as a portrait of Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich.

Judging by the numerous contemporaries, the surprising thing in the work of the Dow ability to accurately transmit the image of the model, as well as his skill with a brush. "Mechanical receiving hands it very special, brush broad, bold, fast, too fast ... but it does not put, throwing paint, and at other times, it seems, does not touch them ... of all the portraits seem to be works a Dow la prima, a native sketches ... "- P. Svinyin wrote in" Notes of the Fatherland "in 1820 Theatrical romantic elation songs and sketchy manner, which is often mistaken for negligence, caused some dissatisfaction with the critics, the rest are awarded Dow most high epithets.

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