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Rokotov, Fyodor Stepanovich
Portrait of Alexandra Struyskaya

1772
oil on canvas
59.8 x 47.5

Alexandra Struyskaya (1754-1840), was the second wife N.Struyskii who is known for the fact that he ran a printing house, famous for its elegant publications from his estate in the Ruzaevka-Penza region. Struyskiis grandson was the poet Alexander Polezhaev. This portrait of Alexandra Struskaya is notable for its particular refinement and tremulous spirituality. The artist was not concerned with the subjects external features but sought instead to convey the richness and beauty of her inner world. The heroines face is almost ethereal, dissolving into the background with soft contours. The poetic, lyrical feel to the portrait is achieved largely due to the soft, melting golden ash tones. The colour moves from the saturation of the dark shadows in the background to the light, silvery tones of her dress giving a flickering, ghostly feel to the portrait. The poet Dolgorukii poet wrote adoringly of Struskaya: "I know few women who I feel obliged to speak of with such a sense of passion and appreciation, as I do of her".

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