Artist Ivan Nikitin. How there was a destiny of the first Russian gofmaler?
the Contemporary and Peter I`s associate Ivan Nikitich Nikitin was born approximately in 1690 in a family of the court priest of the widow queen Praskoviya Fiodorovna. Data on his childhood did not remain, but it is possible to assume that it comprehended elements of picturesque skill independently - trying to copy engravings which was much in library of the Izmaylovsky palace. Thirst of the young man for painting was noticed, and Nikitin was determined in the Moscow Armory by the pupil to the engraver Andrian Shkhonebek.
It was necessary to study during hard everyday work. Painters of Armory do not sit in workshops, by order of the tsar they make out new palaces and triumphal arches, paint the battle paintings glorifying victories of young Russian army, decorate the Moscow streets by holidays. Here Nikitin received also the first skills of portrait painting. The Russian portraits of that time were created in style by a painting painted portrait under strong influence of centuries-old traditions of an iconography. But in them the shy aspiration of masters to glance in an inner world of portrayed is already shown.
In 1711 Nikitin moves to the new capital and begins to work at school of drawing and engraving at Sankt - the St. Petersburg printing house. Now it not just the painter, but also the teacher reporting to young artists of a basis of skill. Exactly here Peter I also paid attention to it. We do not know, than the painter who obviously conceded in skill to Tannauer working those years in Russia attracted to the tsar. Probably, Petr instinctively felt in him future master.
Since 1712 Nikitin accompanies Peter I on trips, paints portrait of associates and members of an imperial family. The portraits created by him still in many respects are naive, in them echoes are felt by a painting painted portrait, but the composition and color are brought already closer to the European requirements. The artist seeks to understand and report the movements of soul portrayed, human identity.
Among early works attract with the sincerity and warm kindness children`s portraits. Seriously and a few future empress four-year-old Elizabeth Petrovna watchfully looks at the world. The seven-year-old tsarevna Anna is ingenuous and crafty. The niece is charming and soft reigning Praskoviya.
Peter I appreciated skill of the painter, and on April 30, 1715 in “ Yurnale Petr “ there was a record: “ Its majesties the half person were written by Ivan Nikitin “. In a portrait there is nothing “ imperial “. A little tired, with resolutely squeezed lips and a penetrating, steady gaze the officer in a Preobrazhenskiy uniform. It only the loved one to it on spirit and thoughts able to distinguish under " could see the tsar; imperial aura “ the restless Russian soul and iron will capable to lift Russia “ on racks “.
Having convinced of original talent of the artist, not without reason in the letter to Ekaterina he will call it “ kind master “ Peter I sends Nikitin to study up to Italy. Quickly years of study flew by. The Venetian and Florentine academies of Arts, copying of pictures of great masters in gallery of Vatican, painting lessons at Tomaso Redi and Alessandro Salieri. And all this time life half-starving since pensioner money comes from Russia not completely and with big delay.
In 1720 the recognized European master who is treated kindly at court of the duke Medici Ivan Nikitin comes back to St. Petersburg. Peter I officially enters him into the suite, having given a rank of a gofmaler - the court portraitist. And for the artist nomadic life was started over again. Under its management masters decorate the capital, and then and Moscow to celebration of signing of the Nishtadsky world. And you never know was masquerades, fireworks, illuminations, court holidays during this period. And behind all this enormous work of the painters headed by an imperial gofmaler.
But the main thing for Nikitin there are portraits. During this period he creates the masterpieces which entered into gold fund not only the Russian, but also European painting: G. I. Golovkin, S. G. Stroganov, Peter I`s portraits (in a circle). On force of emotional impact on the audience two works of the master are allocated: “ portrait of the floor hetman “ and “ Peter I on a mortal bed “.
The person represented on an unfinished portrait, bezymyanen. The look of black eyes strained, endeavoring to understand something, the reddened, inflamed eyelids, internal pain bent a gray-haired eyebrow. The heavy anguish lies on all shape of the elderly, carelessly dressed person with the tousled hair. Who is he, the floor hetman, whose destiny, and can be and life, are on a change? Researchers of creativity of Nikitin tell many names: nakazny the hetman Pavel Polubotok, hetmen of Ukraine Daniil Apostol or Stepan Mazepa, and can the Lithuanian hetman Kazimir Sapega... Recently some art critics incline to thought that it is the artist`s self-portrait.
The uneven, crumpled folds of a white shirt at Pyotr`s neck, serovato - the yellow fluctuating light. Still moustaches puff up and hair were rebelliously swept, but eyes were already closed forever, densely clenched in the last effort of a lip, mortal pallor begins to cover a face. It is felt that for nervousness the artist`s hand shivers, imposing fast, nervous dabs on a canvas. The great personality died. Before us the person who fought all life and even in death did not recognize himself won.
After Pyotr`s death something broke in soul of the master. He still paints portrait, but in them there is no former depth, only gloss any more. Nikitin is weighed by domination of foreign favourites, refusal of Petrovsky policy. He is not able to hide the views, the lampoon with charges vice-to the president of the Synod Feofan Prokopovich, and indirectly - to ruling regime stores houses, and in August, 1732 the artist is arrested. Five long years of interrogations and tortures in Peter and Paul Fortress casemates. Only in November, 1737 the Cabinet approves a sentence: “ To Make punishment - to beat with lashes and to banish to Siberia on life eternally under guard “.
The artist in Tobolsk spent four years. Wrote an iconostasis for the fire of St. Sophia Cathedral restored later, a portrait of the metropolitan Anthony. Only in 1742, Elizabeth who came to the throne released under the decree, Nikitin to Moscow left. But the reference took away from the master not only spiritual, but also physical forces, and on the way he dies.
The artist did not leave the pupils equal to it on power of talent, but it lifted the Russian portrait on the level of the European art.