What scandals accompanied creation of Military gallery by George Dow for the Winter Palace?
of the Reproduction of portraits of the Russian commanders of a brush of the English artist George Dow were seen by all who were interested in history of Russia. And visitors of the Hermitage, undoubtedly, remembered the Military gallery of the Winter Palace which became an outstanding monument to Patriotic war of 1812.
On top of the European glory of Dow uplifted portraits of military leaders which he began to write in England. The artist, possessing a good visual memory, created portraits very quickly, working with wide dabs. At the same time he tried to obtain amazing portrait similarity, but did not avoid and to flatter portrayed.
George Dow was born on February 8, 1781 in London in the engraver`s family. Since the childhood the boy was going to go in the footsteps of the father, having got good art education in the London Academy of Arts. But already in the years of study “ it was reoriented “ also began to paint big pictures on mythical and biblical scenes for which received several prestigious awards and awards. Not only the talent of the painter, but also amazing ability " was its distinctive feature always; to trim the sails to the wind “.
Having become known as the religious and historical painter, he understood that you will not earn special money in this genre, and “ trained for a new profession “ in portraitists. A series of portraits of participants of battle created by it at Waterloo evoked a wide response. Began to order portraits from Dow fashionable.
In 1818 it worked in Aachen where then there passed the Congress of heads of states of Holy Alliance. Here its workshop was visited by the Russian emperor Alexander I. What the emperor was involved by the Englishman with, it is difficult to tell. Perhaps, speed and high quality of work. The similar artist was also necessary to Alexander to realize a grandiose plan - to create portrait gallery of the Russian generals - participants of war of 1812 and the subsequent foreign campaigns for Military gallery of the Winter Palace.
The contract with Dow was signed, and in the spring of 1819 the Englishman arrived to St. Petersburg where he should live 10 years. During this time it and his Russian pupils executed more than three hundred portraits for gallery and a significant amount of portraits and copies by private orders. In the fall of 1820 the small exhibition of the first works of Dow after which it was accepted in honourable free obshchnik of Academy of Arts was organized. The success of an exhibition was undoubted, to the master orders from members of an imperial family, the high-ranking dignitaries, generals and Guards officers literally fell down. It became prestigious to have a portrait from Dow.
Works at the artist considerably increased, and he picked up to himself two assistants, Vasily Aleksandrovich (Wilhelm - Augustus) Golike and Alexander Vasilyevich Polyakov whom thoroughly gave full-time job. Especially hard it was necessary to Polyakov who was a serf of the general A. Kornilov and it appeared in a complete dependence from the Englishman.
From the very beginning of Dow`s activity in Russia, he was accompanied by scandals. It is natural that the first the Russian artists by whom there passed extremely favorable order, and their high-ranking patrons were indignant. And at this time in Russia such recognized masters of a portrait genre as V. A. Tropinin, O. A. Kiprensky, K. P. Bryullov, R. M. Volkov, V. I. Moshkov worked. To the emperor reproaches fell down that portrait of the Russian heroes will be painted by the foreigner who will not be able to transmit patriotic spirit of the Russian troops.
K tomu zhe, Preschool educational Institution began to be accused of frank money-making, it took for a portrait up to 1000 rubles, much more, than the Russian artists. The committee of Society of encouragement of artists even addressed the emperor with the letter: “ Dow not as the artist thinking of honor, but as the shopkeeper, aimed the stay in Russia only at one accumulation of the sums and, not happy was let on the enterprises commercial, even inadmissible “.
At so high prices for portraits soon there was a doubt that the author separate of them is Dow. The matter is that the Broom and Polyakov quickly acquired a picturesque manner of the chief, began to write accessories on portraits and even to make copies from his works which only Dow could distinguish from originals. Everything that left its workshop, Dow signed with the name. Therefore to distinguish original work of the master from the copies made by his pupils it was impossible. The artist was accused openly that two portraits of the emperor presented to them at the Makaryevsky fair in Nizhny Novgorod are written by Alexander Polyakov.
Dow used an opportunity to make money on the name for all 100 percent. It called from England the son-in-law Thomas Wright and the younger brother Henry Dow who began to do engravings from the portraits written to them. These engravings was are extraordinary popular, though cost expensive.
Overloaded with work, Dow sometimes frankly bungled. Compare portraits of generals D. P. Neverovsky and I. E. Shevich, there is no feeling that on them only the heads and part of awards different? At the same time in original skill of the artist of doubts did not arise. He worked hard and, as they say, for wear. To create enormous quantity of half-length portraits and not to repeat in foreshortenings, of course, extremely difficult. He managed even to write portrayed from a back, a striking example - a portrait of the general Yermolov.
It is curious that works of the painter were highly appreciated by Pushkin. Here its responses in verses on Dow: “ artist of bystrookiya “ “ the brush free and wide “ “ marvelous pencil “ “ poetic portrait “ “ there has to be a genius “. It is authentically known of one meeting of the poet with the painter by steamship on the way to Kronstadt. Then Pushkin also wrote the poem, having called in it Dow the genius. And the artist, according to the poet, sketched him “ arapsky " profile;. The destiny of this drawing is unknown.
Interestingly and another. Practically all stately St. Petersburg met George Dow, but descriptions of appearance of the painter were left by nobody. The master did not write self-portraits why to do what will not pay for. The only known portrait of Dow is made after his death, it is attributed by brushes of Vasily Golike who represented on this cloth and himself with a family, but there are no authentic proofs of it.
Despite all scandals and misunderstanding, by 1828 work was almost finished. Portraits took the places in gallery which was solemnly open still on December 25, 1826. Dow was entitled the first portrait painter of the imperial yard, but the relations with the emperor Nicholas I at it did not develop, and he was soon forced to leave St. Petersburg. During its departure home Pushkin also communicated with it.
By the way, deterioration in the relations with the emperor was promoted by the next scandal. The artist peremudrit something with paints, it is possible that from economy, and by this time many of the portraits written to them began to darken promptly. Charged to correct them to Alexander Polyakov who restored about 200 portraits.
In February, 1829 Dow for a while returned to Russia to finish several portraits. But from - for deteriorations in health it was forced to go to London where in October died.
George Dow, undoubtedly, was a talented painter, and the majestic Military gallery of the Winter Palace created by him forever entered his name in history of Russia.