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Ivan Argunov

Portrait of an Unknown Peasant

Portrait of a Woman in a Blue Dress

Portrait of K.A. Khripunov

Self-portrait

Portrait of Nikolai Sheremetev (1751-1809)

Portrait of Petr Sheremetev

Portrait of Catherine the Great

Portrait of Catherine II of Russia

Portrait of Grand Duchess Catherine Alexeyevna (1729-1796)

Portrait of Anna Petrovna Sheremeteva (1744-1768)

Portrait of Varvara Sheremeteva (1750-1824)

Portrait of Catherine Melgunova (1757-1810)

A.A. Lazareva

Aleksey Mikhailovich Cherkasskiy

Anna Petrovna Sheremetyeva

Калмычка Аннушка

Графиня Толстая, урождённая Лопухина (Countess Tolstoy, nee Lopukhina), 1768

Portrait of Princess Catherine Alexandrovna (nee Lovanova-Rostov) (Catherine II)

Boris Sheremetyev

Elizabeth of Russia after Tocque

Elizabeth of Russia

Girl in Russian dress

Tatyana Alexandrovna Vetoshnikov

Anna Petrovna Sheremeteva

Varvara Razumovskaya

Countess Varvara Alekseyevna Sheremetyevo

Le Comte Pierre Borissowitch Cheremeteff

Peasant woman in Russian dress

Portrait of Petr B. Sheremetev

Mina Lazarev

Maria Cherkasskay

Неизвестный в красном кафтане

Николай Петрович Шереметьев

Portrait of Elizabeth Streshneva as chil

Петр Владимирович Шереметьев

Portrait of Prince Sergei Mikhailovich Golitsyn

А.П. Зиновьев

Portrait MN Vetoshnikov

П.И. Шубин

Иван Иванович Лобанов-Ростовский

Portrait of Boris Vladimirovich Sheremetev in a Horse Guard's Uniform

Portrait of a Woman in a Blue Dress

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Ivan Argunov

Ivan Petrovich Argunov (Russian: Иван Петрович Аргунов) (1729–1802) was a Russian painter, one of the founders of the Russian school of portrait painting.

Biography

He was a serf belonging to Count Sheremetev and had grown up in the family of his uncle, Semyon Mikhaylovich Argunov, who was a steward of princess Cherkassky and later a major-domo for count Sheremetev. For many years Semyon managed Sheremetev's house on Millionnaya street in Saint Petersburg, the house where Ivan grew up.

In 1746–1749 Ivan Argunov studied painting with a German artist named Georg Grooth who at the time was in the employ of the Empress Elizabeth of Russia. Ivan also got lessons from his cousins Fedor Leontyevich Argunov and Fedor Semenovich Argunov, painters working in Saint-Petersburg on decorating the Imperial residences.
Portrait of an unknown peasant, 1784

Argunov's first works were icons for the Palace Church in Great Tsarskoe Selo Palace (1753) and for the New Jerusalem Monastery (1749). At that time he also created his only known historical painting Dying Cleopatra. His earliest known portraits were of Prince Ivan Ivanovich Lobanov-Rostovsky (1752) and Princess Ekaterina Alexandrovna Lobanova-Rostovskaya (1754). There can be seen the old traditions of traditional Russian Parsuna art mixed with the new Baroque influence.

In 1760s Argunov was in his prime. He created many beautiful parade and psychological portraits and icons. Among his subjects were Russian royalty and of course Argunov's masters the Sheremetevs as well as their relatives the Lazarevs and the counts Tolstoy. He was one of the creators of the genre of posthumous portraits, painting many dead Sheremetevs.

In 1770 Argunov became the major-domo for the Sheremetevs' house on Millionnaya street, then the major-domo of the Moscow house of the Sheremetevs, then one of the stewards for their estates (chlen krepostnoj kollegii grafov Sheremetevs). He painted much less but it was in that time (1784) he created his masterpiece Portrait of an Unknown Woman in Peasant Dress. The identity of the sitter for the painting remains uncertain, whilst studies have suggested that she was the serf actress and singer of the counts Sheremetev, Anna Kovalyova-Zhemchugova, it has equally been supposed that it was not in fact an official portrait of her, but rather an image of an unidentified wet nurse, taken from amongst the Seremetevs' serfs.[1] Between the second half of 1780s until his death in 1802 Argunov did not paint but spent all his time managing different estates and businesses of the Sheremetevs.

Argunov was an important teacher of art. He taught painting classes beginning in 1753 — before the opening of the Imperial Academy of Arts in 1757. Among his students were Anton Losenko, Fyodor Rokotov, Kirill Golovachevsky(ru) and Ivan Sablukov(ru) — all four future teachers of the Academy. Argunov's sons were also his pupils. Two of them: (Nikolay Argunov and Yakov Argunov) became painters, while the third (Pavel Argunov) became an architect.

See also

List of Russian artists

References

Richard Stites, 'Serfdom, Society , and the Arts in Imperial Russia', p. 333

Sources

Russian Portrait [sic] of the 18th and 19th century (exhibition catalog). Moscow, 1976.
Natalia Presnova All Argunovs (Russian)
Artvibrations Archive: http://www.artvibrations.com/IvanPetrovichArgunov

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