Portrait of Prince Alexander Borisovich Kurakin - Borovikovsky. 259 x 175 cm
Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky is a well-known and recognized master of portraits at the imperial courts of Catherine the Great and Paul I. The whole Russian nobility of that time, dignitaries and their families wanted to be imprinted for posterity precisely at Borovikovsky.
“Portrait of Prince A. B. Kurakin”, written in 1801, is a classic of that time, a role model, a masterpiece of portraiture. And not only due to the impressive dimensions of the canvas, but mainly due to the mastery of execution.
The statesman Kurakin, Alexander Borisovich, is depicted in a ceremonial production portrait, circulated in the 18th century.
The face of Prince Kurakin gives him a great lover of luxury and pleasure, a condescending look - a wealthy aristocrat who knows his worth. Borovikovsky introduced the prince in all his splendor, in the literal and figurative sense. At court, he was even called "our diamond prince."
And these words were not unfounded. A competent and successful diplomat, prominent figure, vice chancellor, chief-stalmeister, senator, a man who has earned and appreciated by the monarchs. Accordingly, brilliant service awards, which you won’t even fit on your chest, rich camisole embroidered with gold, expensive ribbons, even shoes decorated with stones, his whole image creates a feeling of luxury and splendor. Everything that the author depicted on the canvas behind Kurakin also has its own meaning.
Nearby, on the armchair, a cloak was casually dropped, sewn with gold regalia of the Order of the Maltese Knights, the Mikhailovsky Palace is visible outside the window.
On the right, on a table covered with velvet, emphasizing the importance of Kurakin as a statesman, the author depicts papers, a pen and an inkwell. Above this stands a bust of white marble of Emperor Paul I.
Subject dedicated to Paul I, the picture is also no accident. The fact is that in childhood Kurakin and Grand Duke Pavel Petrovich were brought up together, under the supervision and mentorship of Uncle Kurakin - Panin Nikita Ivanovich. And, of course, children's attachments grew into quite friendly relations.
Naturally, Borovikovsky was able to fit the emperor into the canvas: both the favorite residence of Paul I - the Mikhailovsky Palace, and the mantle, since Paul was the Grand Master of the Order of the Maltese, and a bust almost the size of Kurakin himself.
Looking at the canvas, the artist’s idea becomes clear - to show a wealthy, influential at court, a noble, high-ranking nobleman. For this, the entire surrounding entourage, details of the palace interior, are used. After all, such a well-known statesman simply cannot look anywhere even more magnificent than in the walls of the palace.