Dmitry Levitsky

Levitsky Dmitry

DMITRY GRIGORIEVICH LEVITSKY (1735–1822). A portrait painter, also painted icons. Dmitry Grigorievich Levitsky came from an old Cossack family. 

His teachers were his father G.K. Levitsky who was a clergyman and an engraver and later A.P.Antropov who Dmitry met in Kiev where he assisted him in painting the St Andrew’s Cathedral. 

In 1758 Levitsky followed Antropov to Petersburg where he stayed with the master working as his apprentice. Possibly during this period he also took lessons from L.J.Lagrenais, G.Valeriani, and G.I.Kozlov. In 1762 Antropov and Levitsky took part the preparations for the coronation festivities of Catherine II in Moscow. 

In 1770 Levitsky presented some portraits at the exhibition held by the Academy of Arts which made his name well-known. That same year he was made a member of the Academy for the portrait of the architect A.F.Kokorinov (now in the State Russian Museum) and in 1771 he began teaching. He was given the portrait class which he headed until 1787. The artist’s creative individuality crystallized in the early 1770s when he painted many portraits of people close to him, which he did with great warmth ("Portrait of M.A. Dyakova",1778). In the 1780s his manner somewhat changed: it acquired more of a certain aloof objectivity ("Portrait of Countess Ursula Mniszek", 1782). 

As a portrait painter, Levitsky was versatile encompassing all varieties this style of painting from the officially ceremonial to the modest chamber portrait (compare the "Portrait of P.A. Demidov", 1773; the "Catherine II as Lawgiver in the Temple of the Goddess of Justic", early 1780s ; "Portrait of M.A. Dyakova", 1778; "Portrait of Countess Ursula Mniszek", 1782). Levitsky was an artist who most fully and consistently reflected in his work, the epoch of enlightenment in Russia. In 1788 he retired from service. In 1807 he tried to return to the Academy, but unfortunately he began to lose his eyesight. He died in Petersburg and was buried at the Smolensky cemetery.