1735, Kiev - 1822, St Petersburg

Portrait of Agatha Levitskaya, the Artist’s Daughter


  • oil on canvas. 123 × 90
  • Ж-7866

  • Пост. в 1963 из МК РСФСР; ранее - собр. И.И.Беляева (внука И.Я.Саморядова); собр. И.Я.Саморядова (имение Кукуй - Подлесная Рязанской губ.), куплен на аукционе Голицинского музея после 1825; Голицынский музей (Москва)

Dmitry Levitsky’s daughter is shown here in a costume formerly thought to be a wedding costume of a peasant girl from the Russian North. In fact, the headdress is a festive but not necessarily matrimonial maiden’s crown. An outfit consisting of a silk or brocade sarafan and dushegreya, a blouse with sleeves of fine lace, a pearl-ornamented kokoshnik or crown and a silk shawl was typical holiday attire for well-to-do townswomen in the 18th century.

Levitsky renders the silk fabric’s texture, the features of the traditional tailoring and the smallest ornamental details with his typical mastery, leaving us no doubt as to the depicted costume’s authenticity. Such an understanding of the beauty of folk costume and steadfast refusal to cater to the norms of academic art was a rare phenomenon in the art of the time.

In the D. G. Levitsky’s works of the 1770s and 1780s a special place was occupied by “role portraits”. The series of portraits created by him in the 1770s of pupils at Smolny Finishing School depicted them playing roles in operas and dramas, or just dancing, studying or playing musical instruments This image of Agasha Levitskaya could also be called a costume portrait: she’s shown dressed in traditional wedding attire of the Russian North. This was indeed appropriate, for soon, in 1785, Agasha Levitskaya would get married.

Agafya Dmitrievna Levitskaya (1760s – no earlier than 1805) was the artist's daughter by his spouse Nastasia Yakovlevna Levitskaya (1746 no earlier than 1824). In 1785 she married “Collegiate Assessor A. M. Andreyev, assistant director of the Senate printing house” (who received his rank in 1788). After the death of her husband in 1805, she and her children were cared for by her father. A copy (?) of the portrait is in the Russian Museum.

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