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Isabella Gagarina by S.Zaryanko (1850s, priv.coll)


Isabella Gagarina by S.Zaryanko (1850s, priv.coll)



Portrait of Princess Isabella Adamovna Gagarina, late 1850s
oil on canvas
oval, 58.2 x 50.2 cm (23 x 19 1/4 in.)
bears Cyrillic inscription on stretcher S.K. Zaryanko Morzenkova 1848
Collection of Prince V. N. Gagarin, Moscow, before 1917; Khudozhestvenii Salon Mos-cultura, Moscow, no. 495; Sotheby`s New York, April 26, 2006 lot 16
Vremia Sobirat: Russkoe Iskusstvo iz Zarubezhnih Chastnih Kollktsii [Time to Collect: Russian Art from Foreign Private Collections] (Russian Museum, Palace Editions: 2007), p.68

In her youth, Princess Isabella Adamovna Gagarina (1800-1886, nйe Countess Valevskaya), was a famed beauty. Married to Chief Chamberlain Prince Sergei Sergeevich Gagarin, the director of the Imperial theaters, and herself a celebrated philanthropist and awardee of the Order of Saint Katherine, 2nd class, Gagarina was a member of the upper echelons of the Russian nobility. Sergei Konstantinovich Zaryanko, having studied under Alexey Gavrilovich Venetsianov, was among the leading portrait painters of the nineteenth century and was even commissioned to paint portraits of the Imperial family for the Winter Palace.

Alexey Venetsianov (1780–1847) was born into a merchant family in Moscow. He entered the civil service in the early 19th century and moved to St. Petersburg, where he began to study art. He first practiced with pictures of the Hermitage and with portraits of friends. He later became acquainted with Vladimir Borovikovsky and lived in his house as an apprentice. He tried to work as a freelance portraitist, but received few commissions. In 1811 the Board of the Academy of Arts awarded him the title of Academician for his two works - Self-Portrait and Portrait of K. I. Golovachevsky and the Younger Pupils of the Academy.

Sergey Zaryanko (1818–1870) was a Russian inventor, engineer, and scientist. He is best known for his contributions to the development of early electric lighting systems. Zaryanko constructed one of the earliest electric lamps in 1860, which he called the "electric candle." This device used a carbon filament enclosed in a vacuum tube and illuminated when an electric current passed through it. Zaryanko's work on electric lighting laid the groundwork for further advancements in the field, leading eventually to the development of practical incandescent light bulbs. However, his contributions were somewhat overshadowed by those of other inventors like Thomas Edison and Joseph Swan, who achieved greater commercial success with their own versions of the incandescent light bulb.






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