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  • Portrait of Countess Olga Shuvalova

    Artist:
    Winterhalter, Franz Xaver. 1806-1873
    Technique:
    oil
    Dimensions:
    130x97 cm

Winterhalter, Franz Xaver. 1806-1873

Portrait of Countess Olga Shuvalova

France, 1858

Olga Esperovna Shuvalova (1838–1869) came from a distinguished and very wealthy St Petersburg family. Her father was Major General Esper Alexandrovich Beloselsky-Belozersky (1802–1846) and her mother was a prominent lady of the court, maid-of-honour Yelena Pavlovna Bibikova (1812–1888). In July 1855, Olga, by then herself a maid-of-honour, married Count Pavel Andreyevich Shuvalov (1830–1908). Her husband was the adjutant to Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolayevich and later in life served briefly as governor general of Warsaw (1894–96). Olga Esperovna and her husband spent the late 1850s in France, where he had been sent by the Ministry of War to perform military and diplomatic commissions at the court of Emperor Napoleon III. Olga Esperovna led an active social life in the French capital and was closely acquainted with Empress Eugenie. It was during this period that Winterhalter painted the present portrait. Olga Esperovna is depicted in a white dress trimmed with a lace collar and cuffs and a lilac-coloured sash belt. The artist has reduced the amount of adornments to a minimum and we see only a pearl earring in her left ear and part of a gold chain around her neck. Winterhalter did not resort to a striking pose. He showed his model sitting calmly in an armchair in a state of wistful thoughtfulness, gazing not at the viewer, but off to the side. The artist concentrated attention on the face, with the head shown in a three-quarter turn. As a result of this approach, which was unusual for Winterhalter, he produced a portrait with a rare depth of penetration into the subject’s personality.

Title:

Portrait of Countess Olga Shuvalova

Place:

Date:

Material:

Technique:

oil

Dimensions:

130x97 cm

Acquisition date:

Formerly in the collection of A.I. Shuvalova

Inventory Number:

ГЭ-5817

Category:

Collection: