Italy, and Rome in particular, turned out to be that fortunate place where the painter and the writer met and became friends. By that time, Gogol had completed in Rome Dead Souls, his epic poem in prose, conceived in St. Petersburg as far back as in 1835, finished The Overcoat and wrote the novella Annunziata. Nikolai Vasilievich repeatedly posed for the artist, with whom he had a great friendship. In 1841, at the request of the writer’s mother, M.I. Gogol-Yanovskaya, Moller painted the portrait that was handed over from Gogol’s family to the Poltava Art Museum and then disappeared during the Great Patriotic War of 1941– 1945. The portrait from the Tretyakov Gallery’s collection is the author’s repetition of the above-mentioned work. In 1890, it was acquired by S.M. Tretyakov, who praised the artistic merit of the work. In a letter to his brother, Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov, he wrote: “In my opinion, Gogol’s portrait by Moller is very good, especially in terms of colouration”. Later this portrait was reproduced as a print by F. Iordan.
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